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THIS "O-P BOOK" Is AN AUTHORIZED Ri PRINT or TIM 
ORIGINAL EDITION, PRODUCED BY MICROFILM-XEROGRAPHY \\\ 
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YALE STUDIES IN ENGLISH 
ALBERT S. COOK, EDITOR 

LXII 



ANN RADCLIFFE 

IN 

RELATION TO HER TIME 

BY 

CLARA FRANCES ftrtcINTYRE 

Associate Professor in the University of Wyoming 



A Dissertation presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School 

of Yale University in Candidacy for the Degree of 

Doctor of Philosophy 




NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

MDCCCCXX 



or HOI 



PR 







t 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY 

Ann Radcliffe is among the authors who are spoken of 
with a certain degree of familiarity, but of whom little is 
really known. When her name is mentioned, people say, 
glibly, 'Ann Radcliffe? Oh, yes. The Mysteries of 
Udolpho f But when questioned further, many of them are 
obliged to admit that even of her most famous books they 
know only a few pages quoted by other writers, Her 
importance as a literary influence we find accepted without 
dispute in most discussions of eighteenth- and nineteenth- 
century literature, especially those which have to do with the 
novel. But Ann Radcliffe in herself, as a literary figure of 
real significance and power, has received scant justice. 
There has been little attempt to establish definitely her place 
among her contemporaries; there has hardly been a 
thorough and consistent working-out of her influence upon 
later writers, although in that direction more has been done. 

The one full and carefully critical treatment of Mrs. 
Radcliffe is still to be found in Sir Walter Scott's essay, 
which first appeared shortly after her death, as one of the 
prefaces in Ballantyne's Novelists' Library, and was after- 
ward published in the collection called Lives of the Novelists. 
Among more modern works which give some considerable 
attention to Mrs. Radcliffe may be mentioned Professor 
Beers' English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century; a 
doctoral thesis entitled The Gothic Romance: its Origin 
and Development, by Elizabeth Church, written at Radcliffe 
College in 1913, and as yet unpublished; a thesis by Joseph 
Brey, Die Natttrschilderungen in den Romanen und Ge- 
dichten der Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, nebst einem Rilckblick 
auf die Entwickelung der Naturschilderung im Englischen 



376940 



4 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Romane des 18. Jahrhunderts; 1 The Gothic Romance, by 
Hans Mobius; 2 and a study of Englische Romankunst, by 
Wilhelm Dibelius. 8 

Most of these works consider mainly Mrs. Radcliffe's 
influence upon others. It has seemed that there was perhaps 
room for a more thorough investigation than has hitherto 
been made of her actual place among her contemporaries; 
that it might be worth while to see what her readers and 
fellow-writers thought about her, and to decide, as far as 
possible, what part of her work was original, and what was 
derived from others. 

The present study has several definite aims. In the first 
place, it attempts to put into clear and accessible form what 
can be discovered concerning Mrs. Radcliffe's life. It takes 
up her work from several points of view, considering the 
sources from which she drew material; the popularity of 
her books, as shown by contemporary estimates, especially 
in leading magazines of her day, and by the numerous 
translations and dramatizations which were made; and a 
somewhat neglected aspect of her contribution to the novel 
her modification of its structure. 

The most interesting thing about the study has been its 
revelation of the really .important place which this almost 
forgotten author held in the literary judgment of her gen- 
eration. She was_pra,ised jiot only Jjyjthe general crowd 
of fiction-readers, huL-by-^ men who made a profession of 
criticizing literature, andjvho had a sense of literary values. 
An examination of the magazines of the late eighteenth 
century shows us that in her own day she occupied con- 
stantly and triumphantly the chief place in public favor. 
She was referred to as the Great Enchantress, and it was 
perhaps because Scott was recognized as in a sense her 

1 Munich, 1908. 
'Leipzig, 190:;. 
' Palestra, Vol. 92, Berlin, 1910. 



Introductory 5 

successor that his more powerful spells won for him the 
title of the Wizard of the North. Even he did not at once 
take precedence of Mrs. Radcliffe, and, great though the 
interest was which he aroused, it does not seem to have 
been universally recognized that a distinctly superior power 
had appeared. Henry Crabb Robinson, writing of Wav- 
erley in 1815,* balances the merits of the two writers as if 
he accepted them as equals: 

The author's sense- of the romantic and picturesque is not so 
delicate, or his execution so powerful, as Mrs. Radcliffe's, but 
his paintings of men and manners are more valuable. The inci- 
dents are not so dexterously contrived, and the author has not 
'produced a very interesting personage in his hero, Waverley, 
who, as his name was probably intended to indicate, is ever 
hesitating between two kings and two mistresses. 

Scott, in his own judgment of Mrs. Radcliffe, is both 

generous and discriminating: 

f It may be true, that Mrs. Radcliffe rather walks in fairy-land 
than in the region of realities, and that she has neither displayed 
the command of the human passions, nor the insight into the 
human heart, nor the observation of life and manners, which 
recommend other authors in the same line. But, she has taken 
the lead in a line of composition, appealing^totn^e^poliveirful 
and general sources of interest, a latent sense of supernatural 
awe, and curiosity concerning whatever is hidden and mysteri- 
ous; and if she has beeii ever- nearly .approached in. this walk, 
which we should hesitate to affirm, it is at least certain that 
she has never been excelled or even equalled. 1 

One of whom Scott could speak in such terms, one who 
was largely responsible for a literary type, which has not 
entirely ceased its influence even down to our own time, 
certainly has some claim to consideration. We have hardly 
the right to dismiss her with a patronizing smile, and a 
joking reference to subterranean passages, long-suffering 
maidens, vanishing lights, and creaking doors. 

* Diary i. 304. 

* Lives of the Novelists , p. 244. 



CHAPTER I 

FACTS OF MRS. RADCLIFFE'S LIFE 

The title of this chapter is chosen advisedly. We know 
a few plain, bald facts about Ann RadclifFe's experience in 
the world, and that is all we know. The whole range of her 
personality and relationships we can get only by inference 
or imagination. She did not, as some authors have done, 
leave letters and diaries which reveal her friendships, her 
tastes, and her ideals. The journals which she did keep 
record her impressions of external things, rather than her 
inner life. 

It is extraordinary that any one who occupied so con- 
spicuous a place in the literary world could have kept her 
personal affairs so completely away from public observation. 
A writer in the Edinburgh Review (38. 360, note) for May, 
1823, makes the following comment on Mrs. Radcliffe : 

The fair authoress kept herself almost as much incognito [sic] 
as the Author of Waverley; nothing was known of her but her 
name on the title page. She never appeared in public, nor 
mingled in private society, but kept herself apart, like the sweet 
bird that sings its solitary notes, shrowded and unseen. 

In truth, her anonymity, though in one sense less com- 
plete than Scott's, was more persistent. Her name, indeed, 
appeared upon the title-page, but to most of her readers 
the name revealed Clothing. Her private life and her 
authorship were to her, evidently, two entirely separate 
things, and in those days there were no interviewers suffi- 
ciently daring to make the one an excuse for- intruding upon 
the other. 

The few facts which give us our only definite hold on 
Ann Radcliffe as a person are found in the Annual Biog- 



Facts df Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 1 

raphy and Obituary for I824. 1 It is this account which is 
made use of by Scott in the Lives of the Novelists, by Mrs. 
Kavanagh in the English Women of Letters, and by Tal- 
fourd in the memoir prefixed to Gaston de Blondeville. 
Part of the information furnished here, it seems likely, is 
quoted directly from Mr. Radcliffe himself, for the author 
of the memoir says he went to the person best qualified to 
speak of Mrs. Radcliffe, and that would naturally have been 
'her husband. Although this biographical sketch has been 
used by the writers just mentioned, a portion of it may be 
repeated here, as it is the most authoritative statement that 
we have of Ann Radcliffe's ancestry : 

She was born inLondon, in the^ year J64; the daughter of 
WilTijtiiTand AnjTWard. wlioTlHough mjraderwere nearly the 
only persons of their two families not living in handsome, or at 
least easy indeRejQiJ^Jice. Her paternal grandmother was a 
Cheselden, the sister of the celebrated surgeon of whose kind 
regard her father had a grateful recollection, and some of 
whose presents, in books, I have seen. The late Lieutenant 
Colonel Cheselden, of Somerby in Leicestershire, was, I think, 
another nephew of the surgeon. Her father's aunt, the late 
Mrs. Harwell, first of Leicester, and then of Duffield in Derby- 
shire, was one of the sponsors at her baptism. Her maternal 
grandmother was Ann Gates, the sister of Dr. Samuel Jebb of 
Stratford, who was father of Sir Richard : on that side she 
was also related to Dr. Halifax, Bishop of Gloucester, and to 
Dr. Halifax, Physician to the King. Perhaps it may gratify 
curiosity to state further, that she was descended from a near 
relative of the DeWitts of Holland. In some family papers 
which I have seen, it is stated that a DeWitt, of the family of 
John and Cornelius, came to England, under the patronage of 
government, upon some design of draining the fens in Lin- 
colnshire, bringing with him a daughter, Amelia, then an infant 
The prosecution of the plan is supposed to have been interrupted 
by the rebellion, in the time of Charles the First; but DeWitt 
appears to have passed the remainder of his life in a mansion 
near Hull, and to have left many children, of whom Amelia was 
the mother of one of Mrs. Radcliffe's ancestors.' 

'8.89. 

* Annual Biography and Obituary 8. 98. 



8 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

This passage perhaps shows an innocent desire on Mr. 
Radcliffe's part to emphasize the importance of his wife's 
family, but it does certainly tell us that she came of honor- 
able stock. A little further on, we have the account of 
some of the advantages which she enjoyed in her childhood. 

Besides that a great part of her youth had been passed in 
the residences of her superior relatives, she had the advantage 
of being much loved, when a child, by the late Mr. Bentley; 
to whom, on the establishment of the fabric known by the name 
of Wedgwood and Bentley's, was -appropriated the superinten- 
dence of all that related to form and design. Mr, Wedgwood 
was the intelligent man of 'commerce, and the able chemist; 
Mr. Bentley the man of more general literature, and of taste 
in the arts. One of her mother's sisters was married to Mr. 
Bentley; and, during the life of her aunt, who was accom- 
plished 'according to the moderation' ;may I say, the wise 
moderation? of that day, the little niece was a favorite guest 
at Chelsea, and afterwards at Turnham Green, where Mr. and 
Mrs. Bentley resided. At their house she saw several, persons 
of distinction for literature; and others who, without having 
been so distinguished, were beneficial objects of attention for 
their minds and their manners. Of the former class the late 
Mrs. Montague, and once, I think, Mrs. Piozzi; of the latter, 
Mrs. Ord. The gentleman called Athenian Stuart was also a 
visitor there. 

This passage would seem to involve us in a slight dif- 
ficulty. Thomas Bentley married in 1754 Miss Hannah 
Gates, of Sheffield. 1 . She died two years after this mar- 
riage, and he afterward married Mary Stamford, of Derby. 
It would have been impossible for Ann Ward to make visits 
'during the life of her aunt/ as the latter died eight years 
before Ann was born. According to Eliza Meteyard, how- 
ever, an elder sister of Hannah Gates kept house for her 
brother-in-law from the death of his first wife to his second 
marriage in 1772, and apparently, even after the second 
marriage, spent considerable time in his household. Miss 

1 Meteyard, Life of Joseph Wedgwood i. 305; 2. 258. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 9 

Meteyard adds, 'A niece seems also to have occasionally 
resided with them/ 1 and again she remarks, 'Nor was child- 
hood absent from that pleasant home, with its fine gardens, 
its environing fields, and the 'great silent highway* flowing 
near. A little niece of either Miss Gates or Mr. Bentley 
passed much of her time at Chelsea.' 2 

I have called attention to this rather small point because, 
if Ann Ward was the 'little niece 1 mentioned here, the fact 
gives valuable testimony as to her early lOpportunitiesi 
Mr. Bentley was, from all accounts, not only a man of busi- 
ness, but possessed of wide culture. Miss Meteyard speaks 
of his popularity and his courtliness of manner, and men- 
tions many people of prominence in literary and scientific 
work whom he counted among his friends. He himself 
contributed articles to the Gentleman's Magazine and the 
Monthly Review, and Wedgwood, in one of his letters, re- 
proaches him for not publishing a manuscript on female 
education. 3 He was evidently able to introduce his niece 
to a circle interested in literature and art, a society which 
must have been most stimulating to a young girl of quick 
intelligence ; and he probably took an active interest in her 
development. Her biographer is certainly right in calling 
her intimacy with the Bentley family an advantage. 

Mr. Bentley died in 1780, when Ann was sixteen. For 
the last three years of his life, his residence was at Turnham 
Green. It was in 1774 that he left his Chelsea home; if 
his niece visited him there, it must have been when she was 
only a child. 

So far as her formal education is concerned, we are able 
to learn little. The general impression given by her biog- 
raphers is that it was the ordinary education of the yomg 
girl of that day, and that, according to modern ideas, it 

* Ibid. i. 305. 
1 Ibid. 2. 172. 
' Julia Wedgwood, Personal Life of Josiah Wedgwood, p. 48. 



io Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

would seem, if Jot superficial, decidedly incomplete. Mrs. 
Kavanagh speaks of her education as 'plain/ and adds 1 : 

Had Ann Radcliffe been John Radcliffe, ard received the 
vigorous and polished education which marks the man and the 
gentleman, we might have a few novels less, but we would 
assuredly have some fine pages more in that language where, 
spite their merit, her works will leave no individual trace. 

From Mrs. RadcliftVs own work we might, perhaps, be 
inclined to give her credit for rather more knowledge than 
this comment implies. Her references to authors, both in 
her journals and in her novels, show not only thorough 
familiarity but genuine appreciation, and the quotations 
which she uses as headings to her chapters suggest a con- 
siderable range of reading. Mrs. Elwood, in her Memoirs 
of Literary Ladies, gives, on the authority of an unnamed 
contemporary who spent an evening with Mrs. Radcliffe, 
the statement that she was a great admirer of Schiller's 
Robbers, and that her favorite tragedy was Macbeth. Her 
favorite painters were Salvator, Claude, and Caspar Pous- 
sin. Her favorite poets after Shakespeare were Tasso, 
Milton, and Spenser. Whether she had a knowledge of any 
language other than her own seems uncertain. The writer 
of the sketch in the Annual Biography and Obituary, before 
quoted, speaks of her 'gratification in listening to any good 
verbal sounds'; and says that she 'would desire to hear 
passages repeated from the Latin and Greek classics; re- 
quiring, at intervals, the most literal translations that could 
be given, with all that was possible of their idiom, how nu.ch 
soever the version might be embarrassed by that aim at 
exactness.' This would make it appear that she had no 
understanding of the originals. In her Journey Through 
Holland, however, she twice makes use of a Latin quotation, 
with considerable aptness, and, moreover, in an incidental 
way which makes it seem probable that the words were 
familiar to her. In one case 1 the reference is to Lucretius : 

1 English Women of 'Letters, p. 255. 
* Journey 2. 272. 



Facts of Mn. Radclifft's Life n 

We returned to our low-roofed habitation, where, cs the wind 
swept in hollow gusts along the mountains and strove against 
our casements, the crackling blaze of a wood fire lighted up the 
cheerfulness, which, so long since as Juvenal's [sic] time, has 
been allowed to arise from the contrast of ease against difficulty. 
Suave mart magno, turbantlbus aequora 



In the other passage she refers to Tacitus,' mentioning" 
'the fine speech, beginning, Nunquant apud vos verba fed, 
out pro vobis solicitior, aut pro me securior; a passage so 
near to the cunctisque timentewi, securumque sui, by which 
Lucan describes Cato, that it must be supposed to have been 
inspired by it." 

Of course it is quite possible that these writings were 
known to Mrs. Radcliffe only in translation, and that she 
had her husband's aid in finding the originals, but in that 
case it seems almost strange that she did not make her 
acknowledgment of his assistance more general, since she 
scrupulously makes mention of the fact that he is responsible 
for the political observations in the book. 

It must be admitted that the whole question of Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's early education remains largely a matter of con- 
jecture. One of her French biographers* remarks, 'Elle 
rec,ut une education distinguee,' but he gives no details in 
support of his statement. The fact that in 1781 the Misses 
Sophia and Harriet Lee opened their school for young ladies 
at Bath suggests a reasonable source for her early training, 
and that she may have been a pupil in the school seems pos- 
sible from a comment in the obituary notice of Sophia Lee 
in the Annual Register for i824. 5 No records of this school 
are extant, however; so it s impossible to know whether 

1 Lucretius 2. i. 



* Journey i. 124. 

* Arnault, Biographic Nouvelle des Contemporains, Vol. 17. 

'66. 217: 'It is to be remarked that Mrs. Radcliffe (then Miss 
Ward), resident at Bath, and acquainted in Miss Lee's family, 
though too young to have appeared herself as a writer, was among 
the warmest admirers of "The Recess."' 



12 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Miss Ward's name appeared upon the roll of pupils. About 
all the conclusions we are justified in drawing are these: \ 
that she had read rather widely, both in older and in more ( 
modern authors ; that she knew something of art and music ; ' 
and that, among her own relatives and connections, she had 
the advantage of intelligent and refined society. 

In 1787, at the age of twenty-three, Ann Ward married 

Wil!la5Lj5^li%iA^ a ip a l e of Oxford .J^ftd a student of 
law. 1 Mr. Radcliffe did not, however, complete his legal 
studies; he turned, instead, to journalism, and became the 
proprietor and editor of the English Chronicle. He seems, 
also, to have had general literary interests, apart 'from his 
editorial duties. In the Monthly Review for June, 1790, 
appears a review of 'A Journey through Siveden. Written 
in French by a Dutch Officer and translated into English by 
William Radcliffe, A.B. of Oriel College, Oxford ;' and in 
the same magazine for September, 1790, is a review of The 
Natural History of East Tartary, translated by the same 
author. There is no further description, to show whether 
this is the William Radcliffe who married Ann Ward, but 
the exact correspondence of the name and title with those 
given in the marriage-notice makes it seem probable. 

Marriage, with Ann Ward, seems to have meant not the 
ending, but the beginning, of a career. In the scanty bio- 
graphical treatments of Mrs. Radcliffe which we possess, 

1 Mr. R. W. M. Wright, sub-librarian of the Victoria Art Gallery 
and Reference Library, Bath, furnished me with the following 
notices : 

Entry in Parish Register of St. Michaels Church, 
Bath. 

Jan. 15" 1787. William Radcliffe Bachelor w .. William Waxd 

Anne Ward Spinster Rose Forbes 

Bath Chronicle, Thurs., Jany 18, 1787. 

Monday, was married at St Michaels Church the Rev William 
Radcliffe A. B. of Oriel College, Oxford, to Miss Ward, daughter 
of Mr. Ward, of Milsom Street. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 13 

one statement is made emphatic, that she was encouraged to 
her writing urged to it, in fact by her husband. We 
. are even told that on their journeys she was always equipped 
with a number of notebooks in which she wrote her impres- 
sions of the scenery, and that Mr. Radcliffe amused himself 
by reading what she had written. To enjoy reading about 
scenery, when in the presence of the scenery itself, certainly 
implies either devotion on the part of the reader, or charm 
on the part of the writer. In this case both probably existed 
to a considerable degree. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's first book, The Castles of Athlin and 
Dunbayne, was published two years after her marriage, a 
short review of it appearing in the Critical Review for 
September, I789. 1 It was published anonymously, as were 
the first editions of A Sicilian Romance , in 1791, and The 
Romance of the Forest, in 1792. It was not until the second 
edition of the latter book that the author's name appeared 
on the title-page, The Romance of the Forest completely 
established the reputation of the author, whose second book 
had attracted much more favorable comment than the first. 
The Mysteries of Udolpho, in 1794, made her the most 
popular writer of the day. This was followed, in 1795, by 
A Journey Made in the Summer of 119$, through Holland 
and the Western Frontier of Germany, with a Return down 
the Rhine: to which are added Observations during a Tour 
to the Lakes of Lancashire, Westmoreland and Cumberland. 
The Italian, in 1796, completes the list of works published 
during Mrs. Radcliffe's lifetime. 

Further discussion of her work and its reception will be 
given later. Here it will suffice to say that at the time 
The Italian appeared, probably no author was so generally 
admired and so eagerly read as this young woman, who had 
begun writing, we are told, to pass away the winter evenings 
when her husband was away at his work, and who, a first, 
any way, took her productions much less seriously tha*i he. 

1 68, 251. 



14 Ann Raddiffe in Relation to Her Time 

With this we come to the end of Mrs. Radcliffe's pro- 
ductive period, and to the consideration of a puzzling 
question. Why, at the early age of thirty-two, at the 
hejghfLjof_her fame, did she suddenly lay down her pen, and, 
except for some poems, and an experimenTTnT historical 
romance which she apparently had no intention of publish- 
ing, never take it up again ? 

No one of the answers that have been offered is wholly 
satisfying. Perhaps a combination of all the answers might 
yield greater satisfaction. One suggestion, is that she was 
grieved over unfavorable comments on The Italian. It is 
true that some-reviewers "spoke :jof Jjie book as falling short 
of The Mysteries of Udolpho f and even The Romance of the 
Forest; but others praised it as surpassing the earlier works, 
and none of the reviews was sufficiently scathing to dis- 

: courage even a highly sensitive author. Another theory is 
that she was disgusted by the many absurd productions 

| which tried to win popularity. by imitation of her. There 
seems to be rather more plausibility .n this. A lady of any 
literary conscience might well have a sense of guilt at being 
responsible for such a following. It may even be that, hav- 
ing seen the reductio ad absurditm of her method, she came 
to distrust the method itself, and lost the inclination to carry 

i it further. A more personal reason for her cessation of 
activity is furnished by her biographers in the fact that she 
received a legacy which made her pecuniarily independent, 
and therefore removed any temptation to write for gain. 
In connection with the -pecuniary side of Mrs. Radcliffe's 
writing, a passage in the Annual Biography and Obituary is 
interesting : 

Some exaggeration has taken place with respect to the pecu- 
niary advantages which Mrs. Radcliffe derived from her talents. 
For instance, it has been said, that she received ioco from the 
Messrs. Robinsons, for the copy-right of 'The Mysteries of 
Uuolpho.' The real amount was soo; at that time so unusually 
large a sum for a work of imagination, that old Mr. Cadell, 



Facts of Mrs. RadcliffSs Life 15 

than whom no man was more experienced in such matters, when 
he was told that soa had been given, offered a wager of io 
that it was not the fact. It has also been said, that Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe received isoo for the copyright of The Italians.' [sic] 
The real amount did not exceed 8oo 

Although we have no suggestion that, in her early mar- 
ried life, Mrs. Radcliffe was in particular need of money, it 
is probable that these extra sums were welcome. Later on, 
when private resources made possible more indulgenceslrT 
the way of entertainment and travel, and when, perhaps, 
her husband had more time to enjoy these things with her, 
there was less temptation to put her fancies into salable 
form. 

Aside from the list of her publications, we find the chief 
record of Mrs. Radcliffe's life in the journeys that she made. 
Even without this record, we could almost infer her love of 
traveling from her books/ Mrs. Kavanagh remarks that 
, her heroes and heroines are always going on journeys. In 
this, it is true, she was following to some extent the tradition 
; of the novel. But in the older novels the chief aim of the 
hero's travels was to expose him continually to new adven- 
tures. With Mrs. Radcliffe there is a second aim to 
describe the changing scenery, and to show its effect upon 
the traveler. 

In spite of her love of travel, Mrs. Radcliffe was not, on 
the whole, a journeyer in far places. Her one experience 
of the Continent was the trip through Holland and western 
. Germany, mentioned before. The intention of the travelers 
to go on into Switze'rland was frustrated by a disobliging 
official, who refused to believe that they were English, and 
would not honor their passports. 

How little was accurately known of Mrs. Radcliffe, even 
in her own time, is shown by the following statement in the 
Edinburgh "Review for May, 1823* : 

1 38. 360, note. 

2 



1 6 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

The Editor of the Englishman for many years was a Mr. 
Radcliffe. He had been formerly Cached to some of our 
embassies into Italy, where his lady accompanied him ; and here 
she imbibed that taste for picturesque scenery, and the obscure 
and wild superstitions of mouldering castles, of which she has 
made so beautiful a use in her Romances. 

Scott corrects this statement, but draws an inference of 
his own which seems hardly less mistaken: 

In 1793, Mrs. Radcliffe had the advantage of visiting the 
scenery of the Rhine, and, although we are not positive of the 
fact, we are strongly inclined to suppose that The Mysteries of 
Udolpho were written, or at least corrected, after the date of 
this journey; for the mouldering castles of the robber-chivalry 
of Germany, situated on the wild and romantic banks of that 
celebrated stream, seem to have given a bolder flight to her 
imagination, and a more glowing character to her colouring, 
than are exhibited in The Romance of the Forest. . . . Her 
remarks upon these countries were given to the public in 1794, 
in a very well-written work, entitled A Journey through Hoi" 
land, etc. 1 

Unfortunately for Scott's theory, the very title of the 
book to which he refers contradicts it. It is A Journey 
Made in the Summer of 1794, and the first announcement 
of its publication is found in the London Chronicle for 
May i, 1795. The first notice of The Mysteries of Udolpho 
appeared n, M^ylLl2!24- ^ seems impossible", therefore, 
that the castles of the Rhine could have had anything to 
do with Mrs. RadclifiVs famous description of the Castle 
of Udolpho. It must remain a product o.f her imagination, 
assisted by her reading. 

After this one longer expedition, Mrs. Radcliffe's travels 
were confined to her own country. We have mention of a 
tour round the coast of Kent in 1797. In 1798 she visited 
Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight; in 1800, the coast of 
Sussex; in 1801, the New Forest and the Isle of Wight. 
The journey in 1802 is of especial interest. In that year 

1 Lives of the Novelists, p. 215. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 17 

she visited Leicester and Warwick, Kenilworth, Oxford, 
and Woodstock ; and the trip to Kenilworth was the evident 
inspiration of Gaston de Blondeville, which was written 
shortly after, but was not published until after her death. 
The latest journey of any length which we find recorded was 
one to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, in the autumn of 
1811. In her later years, she and her husband gave up the 
more distant excursions, and hired a carriage for the 'sum- 
mer months, so that they might make trips to attractive 
places near London. 

The seclusion of Mrs. Radcliffe's life led, naturally, to 
many misunderstandingsjwid. false reports. One source of 
confusion was that during her lifetime several books ap- 
peared under names very similar to hers. The British 
Museum Catalogue has Mary Ann Radcliffe of Kennington 
Cross, author of The Memoirs of Mrs. M. A. Radcliffe in 
familiar letters to her female friend, and The Female Advo- 
cate, or an attempt to recover the rights of women from male 
usurpation; . Mary Anne Radcliffe, author of M an f rone; or 
the One-handed Monk; and Ann Sophia Radcliffe, author 
of The Ladies Elegant Jester; or, Fun for the Female Sex. 

The first of these books probably helped to strengthen the 
belief in Mrs. Radcliffe's death which her long silence 
seemed to support. Mention of the book appears in the 
Monthly List of Publications of the British Critic for Feb- 
ruary, iSii. 1 The Critic for August, 1812, has the follow- 
ing comment on it 8 : 

We at first sight promised ourselves and our readers also, 
much satisfaction from presenting Memoirs of the very ingen- 
ious and much lamented Mrs. Radcliffe, compiled by herself, 
but it seems that the lady here commemorated is, or rather was, 
a very different personage. Whether the Tale is real or ficti- 
tious is not declared, but the reader will find a narrative by no 
means il! written, of an unfortunate individual, whose life 

1 37- 205. 

"40.189, 



1 8 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

exhibits a useful moral, and lessons of important caution to 
the thoughtless of her own sex. Some agreeable specimens of 
poetry are interspersed, and the volume is introduced by a very 
highly respectable list of subscribers. 

It is sometimes inferred that the writers of these books 
were masquerading under names assumed with the delib- 
erate intention of profiting by an established reputation. 
This would hardly seem to be true in the case of The Female 
Advocate; for the author, in the introduction, apologizing 
for her daring in undertaking such a performance, says, 
'a first attempt, surrounded by all the disadvantages peculiar 
to the sex, seems to her, to require no small share of courage, 
and which, indeed, nothing but the importance of the subject 
should have induced her to encounter/ If she had been 
posing as the Ann Radcliffe of the novels, she would hardly, 
writing in 1799, have spoken of her effort as 'a first attempt.' 

Manfronc; or the One-handed Monk is an undeniable 
imitation of Mrs. Radcliffe's novels. The opening is a hash 
of Radcliffian details : we have a large, dark apartment with 
flickering light, a girl who has been perusing a gloomy tale, 
and, feeling a presentiment of evil, is about to summon her 
maid to spend the night with her, when she is interrupted 
by a startling adventure, in the midst of which, 'quite in the 
fashion of Mrs. Radcliffe's heroines, she faints away. 
There are many other resemblances throughout the book. 
But the feeble descriptions of nature could hardly be mis- 
taken for Mrs. Radcliffe's, and there are slips in grammar 
of which she would not be guilty. We find the book at- 
tributed to her, however, in some of the discussions of her 
work, and this mistake was undoubtedly far from helpful 
to her reputation. In one of the accounts of her which j * 
appeared after her cleath 1 we are told that 'the imitations of ' 
her style and manner by various literary adventurers, the/ 
publication of sortie other novels under a name slightly! 

1 Portfolio 16. 137. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 19 

varied for the purpose of imposing on the public, and the 
flippant use of the term "Radcliffe school," by scribblers 
of all classes, tended altogether to disgust her with the 
world, and create a depression of spirits, which led for many 
years, in a considerable degree to seclude her from society.' 
When Manfrone appeared, however, in 1809, it was already 
more than ten years since Mrs. Radcliffe had written any- 
thing for publication; so that it cannot bear much of the 
responsibility for her seclusion. : . 

The^ report, of Mrs, Kajdcliffe's death was .ngt_ihe_only 
one which gained public credence; there was also a story 
that excessive use of her imagination in representing ex- 
travagant and violent scenes had driven her insane, and 
that she was ending her days in an asylum. This rumor 
was so persistent that in the memoir prefixed to Gaston^e 
Blondeville was included a statement from her physician in 
regard to her mental condition during the last part of her 
life. That this statement was the outcome of some bitter- 
ness of feeling appears from a passage in the review of her 
posthumous works in the Monthly Review for July, i826 l : 

There is one part of Mrs. Radcliffe's life upon which we 
should have abstained from offering a single remark, if a passage 
in the memoir had not made it incumbent on us to say a word 
or two in our own vindication. In a former number of this 
journal 1 after pointing out an error as to a date in Sir Walter 
Scott's memoir of that lady, we stated, from authority upon 
which we had every reason to rely, that 'she died in a state of 
mental desolation not to be described.' It was no part of our 
object to wound the feelings of any of her surviving friends, 
particularly not of Mr. Radcliffe, for whom we entertain great 
respect. But the fact formed a part of the literary history of 
the country, and, if our information were correct, we saw no 
reason why it should be suppressed. Not content, however, with 
denying its truth, Mr. Radcliffe, or some person by his authority, 
charged us, in the public prints, with impropriety in making such 

*N. S.2. 280, 
"Former Series 108. 269, 



20 Ann Rddcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

a statement, and that charge is repeated in a document drawn up 
and signed by Dr. Scudamore, and inserted in the memoir now 
before us. That we may not be accused of garbling it we shall 
here present the whole of that document to the reader. 

'Mrs. Radcliffe had been for several years subject to severe 
catarrhal coughs, and also was occasionally afflicted with asthma. 

'In March, 1822, she was ill with inflammation of the lungs, and 
for a considerable time remained much indisposed. With the 
summer season and change of air, she regained a tolerable 
state of health. 

'In the early parjof January, iS^^^c^n^e^uence^ofjexposure 
to cold^^e_w^s^ag^^atta^c1ce(r"witii inflampTallQnjB^ 
and much more severely than before. Active treatment was 
immediately adopted, but without the desired relief ; and the 
symptoms soon assumed a most dangerous character. At the 
end of three weeks, however, and contrary to all expectations, 
the inflammation of the lungs was overcome ; and the amend- 
ment was so decided, as to present a slight prospect of recovery, 

'Alas! our hopes were soon disappointed. Suddenly, in the 
very moment of seeming calm from the previous violence of 
disease, a new inflammation seized the membranes of the brain. 
The enfeebled frame could not resist this fresh assault: so 
rapid in their course were the violent symptoms, that medical 
treatment proved wholly unavailing. 

'In the space of three days death closed the melancholy scene. ' 

'In this manner, at the age of fifty-nine, society was deprived 
of a most amiable and valuable member, and literature one of 
its brightest ornaments. 

'The foregoing statement will, I hope, afford all the explana- 
tion, which can be required, of the nature of Mrs. Radcliffe's 
illness. During the whole continuance of the inflammation of 
the lungs, the mind was perfect in its reasoning powers, and 
became disturbed only on the last two or three days, as a natural 
consequence of the inflammation affecting the membranes of the 
brain. 

'Previously to the last illness, and at all times, Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe enjoyed a remarkably cheerful state of mind; and no one 
was farther removed from "mental desolation," as has been 
so improperly described of the latter part of her life. 

'She possessed a quick sensibility, as the necessary ally of 'her 
fine genius ; but this quality would serve to increase the warmth 
of the social feelings, and effectually prevent the insulation of 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life ai 

the mind, either as regards the temper or the understanding/ 
Memoir, pp. 103-105. 

It will be seen that this document, instead of contradicting 
our statement, confirms it in the most pointed manner. We did 
not speak generally of the latter part of Mrs. Radcliffe's life as 
clouded by 'mental desolation,' as Dr. Scudamore has been taught 
to suppose; we distinctly said that she died in that unhappy 
state, and for this fact we need no further evidence than his 
own description of the melancholy close of her existence. We 
have been reluctantly drawn into this explanation, and we now 
quit the subject. 

Mrs, J&adcliff e died on February 7, 1823. Her obituary- 
notices all agree in praise of her work, and in very meagre 
information about her life. The publication of her posthu- 
mous works, in 1826, seemed to cause a considerable revival 
of interest in her, and some of the best criticisms of her 
work are found in reviews of these volumes^ She was 
buried in the cemetery belonging to St. George's, Hanover 
Square. This burial-ground, on the Bayswater Road, near 
Hyde Park, is the one which contains the grave of Lawrence 
Sterne. 1 

A life-history which consists of only bare facts is an in- 
complete and unsatisfactory thing. Although, as nas been 
said, we find little recorded of Mrs. Radcliffe except facts, 
and very few of those, there are suggestions here and there 
which may help us to construct a personality. 

For her personal appearance we have to rely upon the 
writer of the sketch in the Annual Biography and Obituary: 

This admirable writer, whom I remember from about the 
time of her twentieth year, was, in her youth, of a figure ex- 
quisitely proportioned ; while she resembled her father, and his 
brother and sister, in being low of stature. Her complexion was 
beautiful, as was her whole countenance, especially her eyes, 
eyebrows, and mouth. 

1 For information in regard to this I am indebted to Professor 
Wilbur L. Cress, of Yale University, who remembers seeing a stone 
to Mrs. Radcliffe near the grave of Sterne. 



22 Ann Rqdcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

If it be true that Mr. Radcliffe was the author of the 
sketch, we should perhaps make some allowance for senti- 
ment in this description. But he at least does not try to 
show her as endowed with all the graces, for he says she was 
rather shy in company: 'She had not the confidence and 
presence of mind without which, a person conscious of being 
observed, can scarcely be at ease, except in long-tried so- 
ciety/ Her fondness for music we could have inferred 
from her books, if he had not told us of it. ^Jusic_plays a 
prominent part in all the novels, and her heroines, through 
whatever vicissitudes they may pass, always cling to their 
musical instruments. 

Two incidents which he relates seem to show an extreme 
sensitiveness in Mrs. Radcliffe indeed, one might say, 
supersensitiveness. 

Miss Anna Seward, in a letter written May 2i, 1799,* 
discussing The Plays on the Passions, made this remark: 
'Before their author was known, I observed so much of the 
power and defects of Mrs. Radcliffe's compositions in these 
dramas, as to believe them hers ; and I hear she owns them.' 
In two or three subsequent letters, Miss Seward went on to 
discuss the plays, still attributing them to Mrs. Radcliffe. 
It was not until October 7 that she owned herself mistaken. 
'My literary friends now assert that they are not Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's.' 2 According to Mrs. Radcliffe's biographer, the 
imputation that she could claim the credit for work which 
did not belong to her was the cause of great grief and worry. 
She tried to get into touch with the Mrs. Jackson whom 
Miss Seward had quoted as having first informed her that 
Mrs. Radcliffe owned the plays, but could find out nothing 
concerning her. 

Thus the subject was dropped; for to Miss Baillie herself 
Mrs. Radcliffe could address nothing but protestations, which 

* Letters 5. 226. 

* Ibid., p. 253. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe' s Life 23 

could not prove a negative, and which might be held intrusive; 
as there was no reason to suppose that that lady had ever 
credited the report . . . 

I have been tedious upon this subject, but it was a great one 
with the deceased; and if it be possible that her spirit, now, 
as I humbly hope, beatified, can know what is passing here, 
may this asseveration of her innocence, solemnly made on her 
behalf, be one of its feeblest gratifications.* 

The other matter which had troubled Mrs. Radcliffe was 
a note added to one of Mrs. Carter's letters, which stated 
that 'Mrs. Carter had no personal acquaintance with Mrs. 
Radcliffe. 1 Mrs. Radcliffe's biographer remarks in regard 
to this : 

This is strictly true; but as the remark may be misunder- 
stood to imply that Mrs. Carter had rejected, or avoided, or 
would have rejected, or avoided, that acquaintance, it cannot 
be improper to show that she had in some measure sought it 
The following short correspondence is sufficient upon the 
subject: 

'If Mrs. Radcliffe is not engaged, Mrs. Carter will have the 
pleasure of calling upon her about twelve o'clock to-morrow 
morning.' 

'Mrs. Radcliffe is extremely sorry that an engagement to go 

into the country to-morrow, for some time, on account of Mr. 

R.'s state of health, which is very critical, will deprive her of 

the honour intended her by Mrs. Carter ; for which she requests 

Mrs. C. to believe that she has a full and proper respect.' 

There is no date to either of these notes ; but that of Mrs. 
Carter enclosed the following letter: 

Bath, April i8th, 1799, 
Dear Madam, 

I venture to give you this trouble, at the request of Mrs. 
Carter, whose admirable talents, and far more admirable virtues, 
are too well known to need any introduction from me. She 
very much wishes to have the pleasure of knowing you; and 
will deliver this letter, if she has the good fortune of finding 
you at home. As I am persuaded the acquaintance must afford 
mutual satisfaction, I could not refuse the request with which 

1 Annual Biography and Obituary 8. 103. 



24 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Mrs. Carter honoured me ; though it is made on the supposition 
of my having some degree of interest with you, to which I have 
no claim, except from the very sincere admiration I have ever 
felt for your talents, and the regard and esteem with which 
I am, dear Madam, 
Your obliged and affectionate humble servant, 

H. M. Bowdler. 

P.S. If Mrs. Carter does not deliver this letter herself, she 
will, I believe, take an early opportunity of waiting on you, 
with a very amiable friend of mine, Miss Shipley, who has 
promised to carry her in her carriage. 

It certainly shows some excess of sensitiveness to read 
into the statement that Mrs. Carter did not know Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe the idea that Mrs. Carter did not wish to know Mrs. 
Radcliffe. These two instances rather incline us to believe 
that our author possessed something of what is commonly 
and indefinitely known as 'the artistic temperament.' They 
also incline us to wonder whether this extreme sensitiveness 
may not account for her withdrawal from the world. This 
withdrawal has been differently interpreted, jeaffreson 
says of her 1 : 

Leading a life of domestic seclusion, and especially avoiding 
those circles where rank loftily patronizes literary celebrity, and 
mock-genius fawns slavishly on fashion, circles into which a 
paltry vanity too often allures the best authors, Mrs. Radcliffe 
was utterly unknown to the thousands of English who, in 
London and in the country, were burning to learn something 
about her. 

The writer of a review jn the Literary^ Gazette 2 takes a 
less kindly view : 

She was ashamed, (yes, ashamed) of her own talents; and 
was ready to sink in tne earth at the bare suspicion of any one 
taking her for an author ; her chief ambition being to be thought 
a ladyl 

1 Novels and Novelists, p. 3. 
'June 3, 1826. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 25 

It seems probable that Mrs. Radcliffe's feeling was not 
one of silly vanity, but rather of honest pride. She was not 
willing to climb into society by means of her literary achieve- 
ments, if she was not considered worthy in other respects. 
We must remember that it was not long since the days when 
every literary man must have his noble patron, when it was 
considered perfectly allowable for a Chesterfield to snub a 
Johnson., Eliza Meteyard, speaking of the Wedgwoods, 
says 1 : 

Mr. Josiah Wedgwood was pricked as sheriff for Dorset- 
shire in 1803, and his year of office was a comparatively bril- 
liant one in county annals. But, generally speaking, the family 
led a quiet and retired life. Indeed, on the evidence of those 
still living, it was never very cordially accepted by the proud 
old local gentry, full of obsolete notions concerning birth and 
pedigree. Nature's noble rank, the only rank; the possession 
of a name which needed only time and knowledge to become 
historic ; the possession of great wealth, and its intelligent and 
charitable use were nothing with a generation whose notions 
of pedigree began with the Conquest, and thence must have 
due record in parchment rolls and title-deeds. To be in trade, 
or to possess wealth derived from trade, was then a sufficient 
blot on any man's escutcheon to weigh heavily against the 
worthiest qualities; particularly in counties as far removed 
from metropolitan influence as those of southern England. 

Mrs. Radcliffe may have had experience with people of 
this sort, who looked down upon her condescendingly be- 
cause her relatives were 'in trade/ and made up their minds 
to overlook this disgrace when she became a famous author. 
\i so, we can hardly wonder at her independent attitude, 
although it seems a trifle unfortunate that she cut herself 
off from intercourse. with other people of literary interests, 
as well as from society at large. 

Perhaps we get most suggestion as to Mrs. Radcliffe's 

personality in the selections from her journals included in 

Talfourd's memoir. We can certainly learn something of 

1 A Group of Englishmen, p. 187. 



26 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

her literary tastes; we hardly need to have been told that 
Shakespeare was her favorite author, for she is constantly 
making references to him. For instance, in the trip to 
Hastings, July 23, iSoo 1 : 

Near eleven, before we reached Hastings ; no moon ; star- 
light ; milky- way very lucid ; seemed to rise out of the sea. 
Solemn and pleasing night-scene. Glow-worms, in great num- 
bers, shone silently and faintly on the dewy banks, like some- 
thing supernatural. Judgment of Shakespeare in selecting this 
image to assist the terrific impression in his ghost scene. 

Again, in the account of her visit to Warwick Castle, in 
i8o2 2 : 

Near the summit an embattled overhanging gallery, where 
formerly, no doubt, sentinels used to pace during the night, 
looked down upon the walls of the Castle, the rivers and the 
country far and wide, received the watch-word from the sentinel, 
perched in the little watch-tower, higher still and seeing farther 
in the moonlight, and repeated it to the soldiers on guard on the 
walls and gates below. Before those great gates and under- 
neath these towers, Shakespeare's ghost might have stalked; 
they are in the very character and spirit of such an apparition, 
grand and wild and strange ; there should, however, have been 
more extent. 

An entry made during the trip to Portsmouth and the Isle 
of Wight, in the autumn of 1811, shows her feeling for 
music, as well as her constant reference to Shakespeare. 8 

How sweet is the cadence of the distant surge! It seemed, 
as we sat in our inn, as if a faint peal of far-off bells mingled 
with the sounds on shore, sometimes heard, sometimes lost : the 
first note of the beginning, and last of the falling peal, seeming 
always the most distinct. This resounding of the distant surge 
on a rocky shore might have given Shakespeare his idea when 
he makes Ferdinand, in the Tempest, hear, amidst the storm, 
bells ringing his father's dirge; a music which Ariel also com- 
memorates, together with the sea- wave: 

* Memoir, p. 42. (Gaston de Blondeville, etc., Vol. I.) 

* Memoir, p. 60. 
8 Memoir, p. 79. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 27 

'Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell, 
Ding, dong, bell !' 

In other passages she quotes from Goldsmith and from 
Collins. 

A reference to Claude Lorraine is interesting, since her 
gentler landscapes are often compared to his. The passage 
is found in the account of her visit to Belvedere House, in 
June, iSos 1 : 

In a shaded corner, near the chimney, a most exquisite Claude, 
an evening view, perhaps over the Campagna of Rome. The 
sight of this pictuie imparted much of the luxurious repose and 
satisfaction, which we derive from contemplating the finest 
scenes of Nature. Here was the poet, as well as the painter, 
touching the imagination, and making you see more than the 
picture contained. You saw the real light of the sun, you 
breathed the air of the country, you felt all the circumstances 
of a luxurious climate on the most serene and beautiful land- 
scape; and, the mind being thus softened, you almost fancied 
you heard Italian music on the air the music of Paisiello ; and 
such, doubtless, were the scenes that inspired him. 

The love of nature which her novels reveal is shown just 
as strikingly, and even more effectively, in these informal 
journals. We find one comment which is interesting in view 
of some of her descriptions: 

I prefer rich beauty to wild beauty, unless accompanied by 
such shapes of grandeur as verge upon the sublime.* 

In an entry written during the trip to Beachy Head, July 
23, 1800, we have not only some remarkably vivid descrip- 
tion, but a little more suggestion than usual of the personal 
side of Mrs. Radcliffe 3 : 

Walked to the shore and along it, with a .hope of having 
some sight of the sea-front of Beachy Head from beneath it, 

1 Ibid., p. 65. 
9 Ibid., ^. 54- 
* Ibid., p. 40. 



28 Ann Raddiffe in Relation to Her Time 

though four or five miles off. . . . Within half a mile' of 
the great front, unable to proceed farther ; sat down on a block, 
wearied out, desiring William to go on; he was soon hid by a 
turn of the cliffs. Almost frightened at the solitude and vast- 
ness of the scene, though Chance^ was with me. Tide almost 
out ; only sea in front ; white cliffs rising over me, but not 
impending; strand all around a chaos of rocks and fallen cliffs, 
far out into the waves; sea- fowl wheeling and screaming; all 
disappeared behind the point, beyond which, is the great cliff; 
but we had doubled point after point, in the hope that this 
would be the next ; and had been much deceived in the distances 
by these great objects; after one remote point gained, another 
and another succeeded, and still the great cliff was unattained; 
the white precipices beautifully varied with plants, green, blue, 
yellow and poppy. Wheat-ears flew up often from the beach; 
Chance pursued them. At length William returned,' having 
been nearly, but not quite, in front of the great promontory. 
Slowly and laboriously we made our way back along the beach, 
greatly fatigued, the day exceedingly hot, the horizon sulphurous, 
with lowering clouds ; thunder rolled faintly at a distance. 

Perhaps the mention of the favorite dog, with the evi- 
dently close companionship of husband and wife, recalls to 
those who are familiar with the letters of Elizabeth Barrett 
and Robert Browning that other 'literary marriage/ But 
Mr. Radcliffe, although apparently well known and respected 
in his owu time, has lived in literary history only as the 
husband of his wife. That even in his lifetime his wife's 
fame had become the chief distinction of the family is shown 
by the notice of his mother's death in the Gentleman's Maga- 
zine for February, 



At the rectory-house at Broughton, co. Lincoln, aged 71, Mrs. 
Deborah Radcliffe, mother of the husband of the celebrated 
Authoress of several highly-esteemed Novels and other works. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's attitude toward her literary contempo- 
raries is mentioned both in the memoir prefixed to Gaston* 

1 Her favorite dog. 
'79- 188. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 



29 



de Blondeville, and in the article in the Annual Biography 
and Obituary. In the former we have the statement 1 : 

Much of her leisure was spent in jreading- Jthe liierary_prp- 
ductions of the day, especially poetry and novels. Of the 
latter works she always spoke with entire freedom from jeal- 
ousy, and devoured the earlier Scotch novels with all the avidity 
of youth, although she felt deeply a slighting expression in 
'Waverley/ towards herself, which the author might have spared. 
Sir Walter Scott has, however, made ample amends to her 
reputation by his elaborate criticism prefixed to Ballantine's 
edition of her romances. 

The 'slighting expression* referred to occurs in Scott's 
humorous explanation of his title, 2 and was probably not 
meant to carry any real sting. 

More serious criticisms by contemporary authors are sug- 
gested by her other biographer, when he says: 

Of censure she had as small a share as could be, considering 
her distinction ; and that, too, chiefly from the writers of other 
novels or romances, whose candour on the subject may be sus- 
pected; since it is certain that no writer of fictitious narrative 
is required, otherwise than by his or her own motives, to deliver 
an opinion upon contemporaries. She never spoke of their 
writings, except when she could have the delight, which she 
often had, of expressing admiration ; or when, indeed, she had 

1 Memoir, p. 98. 

' Waverley, Introductory : 'Had I, for example, announced in my 
frontispiece, "Waverley, a Tale of other Days," must not every 
novel-reader have anticipated a castle scarce less than that cf 
Udolpho, of which the eastern wing had long been uninhabited, and 
the keys either lost, or consigned to the care of some aged butler 
or house-keeper, whose trembling steps, about the middle of the 
second volume, were doomed to guide the -hero, or heroine, to the 
ruinous precincts? Would not the owl have shrieked and the 
cricket cried in my very title-page? and could it have been possible 
for me, with a moderate attention, to decorum, to introduce any 
scene more lively than might be produced by the jocularity of a 
clownish but faithful valet, or the garrulous narrative of the 
heroine's fillc-dc-chambre, when rehearsing the stories of blood and 
horror which she had heard in the servants' hall?' 



30 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

the other entertainment, of observing that those who betrayed 
a wish to expel her violently from the field of literature, or at 
least to dose it roughly against her as she retired, seldom 
failed to imitate her in one part of their works, after having 
endeavored to proscribe her by another. 1 

Mrs. Radcliffe's housewifely talents are mentioned with 
considerable emphasis. We are told that she 'was minutely 
attentive to her household affairs, . . . Although by no 
means disposed to parsimony, she kept an exact account of 
daily disbursements, until a very short time before her 
death/ Probably this attention to practical details was 
hardly expected of literary ladies. Least "of all would it 
be looked for in one whose imagination led her to the work- 
ing out of extravagant adventures, rather than to the repro- 
duction of everyday life. But even in her novels we find 
scenes of domestic happiness, which, although they are de- 
scribed in rather stilted language, have both sincerity and 
charm. An example of this is the account of La Luc's 
family, in The Romance of the Forest; another is the open- 
ing of The Mysteries of Udolpho, which gives an almost idyl- 
lic picture of Emily's early life with her father and mother. 
Another suggestion of Mrs. Radcliffe's devotion to her home 
may perhaps be gathered from one of her poems. These, 
for the most part, strike one as conventional exercises in 
verse, and rather poor ones at that; they show very little 
of the writer's actual feeling. But December's Eve at Home 
seems to me to bear at least a faint stamp of autobiography. 
It may serve to modify the traditional picture of Mrs, Rad- 
cliffe, sitting lonely on winter evenings writing her direful 
tales, while the wind howls outside as drearily as it does 
around her imaginary castle. Here we have her winter 
evening with the pleasant accompaniments of light, music, 
and friendly companionship, including the favorite dog 
which we have met before : 

1 Annual Biog. and Obit., p. 104. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Lift 31 

Welcome December's cheerful night, 
When the taper-lights appear; 
When the piled hearth blazes bright, 
And those we love are circled there 1 

And on the soft rug basking lies, 
Outstretched at ease, the spotted friend, 
With glowing coat and half-shut eyes, 
Where watchfulness and slumber blend. 

Welcome December's cheerful hour, 
When books, with converse sweet combined, 
And music's many-gifted power 
Exalt, or soothe th' awakened mind. 

Then, let the snow-wind shriek aloud, 
And menace oft the guarded sash, 
And all his diapason crowd, 
As o'er the frame his white wings dash. 

He sings of darkness and of storm, 

Of icy cold and lonely ways; 

But, gay the room, the hearth more warm, 

And brighter is the taper's blaze. 

Then, let the merry tale go round. 
And airy songs the hours deceive ; 
And let our heart-felt laughs resound, 
In welcome to December's Eve I 1 

Is it fanciful to feel that from these scattered hints we 
have constructed at least the shadow of a personality? jQer- 
tainly there is evidence of strength of character in a woman 
who could keep her private and her public life so resolutely 
apart, without, however, taking^ refuge in_ anonymous publi- 
cation, as did many women writers of her day. Even 
though Mrs. Elwood attributes to her a mistaken idea of 
'the incompatibility of the gentlewoman and the authoress/ 
the fact that she gave the sanction of her name to her pro- 
ductions seems to show that she recognized to some extent 
the dignity of literature as a profession. One critic finds 
Mrs. Radcliffe a pure type of femininity : 

1 Posthumous Works 4. 213. 
3 



32 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

There is a beauty in her mind, a gentleness, a delicacy, a 
retiredness in her disposition, which is wholly feminine, and 
which every man cannot but feel, who feels as a man ought 
towards woman, 1 

It is true that the brief description of her person and man- 
ners gives us a decidedly feminine impression. But there 
are other critics who have called her mind 'masculine* ; and, 
indeed, if the novels were .anonymous, it might be difficult 
to decide whether a man or a woman was responsible for 
The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian. 

Perhaps, as in the case of many people, the most interest- 
ing things we discover about her .are the inconsistencies. 

She jvas rejmng^jsdmQst : shy, in disposition-; and yet she 

was, for many years, probably the most widely known 
woman in England. Her physician tells us that she 'pos- 
sessed a quick sensibility,' which 'would serve to increase the 
warmth of the social feelings' 2 ; and yet we have no record 
of any friendships in which she played a part, no account 
of her by any close associate. Either she succeeded in im- 
pressing upon all her friends her desire for privacy, or her 
companionship with her husband was so completely satisfy- 
ing that she did not care for other intimacies. Certainly her 
husband's note, at the end of the memoir which has been so 
often quoted, shows his devotion, in the desire to have those 
belated volumes in a sense a memorial to her: 

The Editor of the present Publication, who is not the Writer 
of the preceding Memoir, is aware, that it would be unbecoming 
for him to say more of Works, written by one so dear to him, 
than may be necessary to give the Public an early assurance of 
their authenticity; and that fact, he apprehends, will be suffici- 
ently proved by the distribution, which he has resolved to make, 
of the whole purchase-money of the copyright. Every part of 
that produce will be paid, as it shall accrue to him, to some 
public charitable institution in England. The Lord Bishop of 

1 United States Review and Literary Gazette, April, 1827. 
* Memoir, p. 105. 



Facts of Mrs. Radcliffe's Life 33 

Bath and Wells, and Sir Walter Stirling, B?rt. in consideration 
of the utility of this purpose, allow him the honour of saying, 
that they will audit his account of that distribution. 1 

The very thing which we are inclined to admire in Mrs. 
Radcliffe her determination to keep her private life entirely 
separate from her literary fame makes her an almost 
impossible subject for biography, Perhaps, however, we do 
gain a sufficiently definite impression to say this the little 
we know of her makes us wish that we might know more. 

1 Posthumous Works i. 132. 



CHAPTER II 

WORK 

Section i. Contemporary Estimates of her Work. 

* 

Mrs. Radcliffe's first book is noticed as follows in the 
Critical Review for September, 1789*: 

The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, an Highland Story, 
izmo. 35. Hookham. 

There is some fancy and much romantic imagery in the con- 
duct of this story; but our pleasure would have been more 
unmixed had our author preserved better the manners and 
costume of the Highlands. He seems to be unacquainted with 
both. 

The Monthly Review for December, 1789,* has a comment 
rather longer, but even less flattering : 

To those who are delighted with the marvellous, whom 
wonders, and wonders only, can charm, the present production 
will accord a considerable degree of amusement. This kind of 
entertainment, however, can be little relished but by the young 
and unformed mind. To men who have passed, or even attained, 
the meridian of life, a series of events, which seem n,ot to have 
their foundation in nature, will ever be insipid, if not disgustful. 
The author of this performance appears to have written on the 
principle of Mr. Bayes, to elevate and surprise. By means of 
trap-doors, false pannels, subterranean passages, etc. etc. this 
purpose is effected : and all this, as was before intimated, will 
possibly have its admirers. But though we are not of the number 
of such readers, we must honestly confess, that this little work is 
to be commended for its moral; as also for the good senti- 
ments and reflections wfeich occasionally occur in it. 

The Scots Magazine, in its Appendix for 1789,* repeats 
the last two or three, lines of the notice just quoted lines 

'68.251. 
'81.563. 
'51.645. 



\1 



Work ; 35 

which furnish a shining example of the faint praise that 
damns. Especially does this phrase seem apt as we look 
through the book-reviews of the time. The reviewers seem 
to have had a bias toward morality, but they rarely motion 
its presence except when there is a total absence of anything 
else worthy of praise. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's first attempt, then, created little excite- 
ment in the literary world. It is rather interesting, in view 
of Scott's later achievements, that she began with a High- 
land story, but just why she called it a Highland story is 
hard to understand. Probably the Highlands of Scotland 
had for her a suggestion of romance ; but her imagination 
had not developed to such a degree that it could, as in the 
later books, almost take the place of knowledge. Placing 
her castle on the 'north-east coast of Scotland, in the most 
romantic part of the Highlands/ and bestowing Scotch 
names on a few of her characters, were her only steps in 
the direction of local color. 

The reception of the second book, A Sicilian Romance, 
was rather more encouraging. The Monthly Review 1 said 
of it: 

In this tale, we meet with something more than the alternate 
tears and rapture of tender lovers. The writer possesses a 
happy vein of invention, .and a correctness of taste, which 
enable her to rise above the level of mediocrity. Romantic 
scenes, and surprizing 1 'events, are exhibited in elegant and ani- 
mated language. 

The Critical Review 2 was somewhat less enthusiastic, but 
took the story much more seriously than its predecessor : 

This very interesting novel engages the attention, in defiance 

* of numerous improbabilities and 'hair-breadth scapes' too often 
repeated. Perhaps, on second reading, these might be still more 
disgusting; but it is*an experiment that we can scarcely venture 
to try but with modern novels of the first class. We found the 

'3.91, September, 1790. 

* N. Ar. i. 350. March, 1791. 



36 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

tale, we have said, very entertaining, and involved with art, 
developed with skill, and the event concealed with great dex- 
terity. If our author again engaged in .this task, we would 
advise her not to introduce so many caverns with such peculiar 
concealments, or so many spring-locks which open only on one 
side. 

The Scots Magazine* again echoes the Monthly Review; 
its reviews seem to consist of abridgements of those in other 
magazines. 

^Sicilian Romance, it seems f attracted ^pm^attentinn 
other than that of reviewers who read it as a matter of duty. 
Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, in her Letters to Mrs. Montagu, 
writes : 

I have been reading with much pleasure the 'Sicilian Romance/ 
The language is elegant, the scenery exquisitely painted, the 
moral good, and the conduct and conclusion of the fable, I 
think, original. Have you read it? And do you know the name 
of the Authoress? I do not.* 

All the announcements of the book had read, By the 
Authoress of the Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne. The 
account of The Romance of the Forest, which appears in 
the Critical Review for April, I792, 3 has this heading: 

The Romance of the Forest ; interspersed with some Pieces of 
Poetry. By the Authoress of 'A Sicilian Romance' etc. 3 vols. 
9s. Sewed. Hookham. 

The writer begins his review by saying: 

We spoke with respect of the Sicilian Romance; but this 
lady, for by the term (authoress) we must suppose it to be the 
production of a female's pen, has greatly exceeded her first 
work. 

He adds a note to this effect : 'In the advertisement to the 
second edition, she styles herself Ann Radcliffe, and we have 

1 52. 438. September, 1790, 
'3.323. December 15, 1790. 
*N. Ar.4,458. April, 1792. 



Work 37 

no authority for prefixing Miss or Mrs/ The whole review 
is in a tone of such decided enthusiasm that the author 
seems to feel he may be criticized for going too far. He 
stands his ground, however, in his concluding words : 

If it may appear, that we have commended this novel with an 
eager warmth, we can only say, in apology for it, that we have 
copied our real sentiments. The lady is wholly unknown to us, 
. and probably will ever continue so. We must, however, con- 
sider The Romance of the Forest* as one of the first works in 
this line of novel-writing that we have seen. 

Other reviews are equally commendatory. The English 
Review 1 begins its discussion with the statement : 

Of modern novels, The Romance of the Forest must certainly 
be allowed to rank among the first class. 

The Monthly Review* says: 

'We have seldom met with a fiction which has more forcibly 
fixed the attention, or more agreeably interested the feelings, 
throughout the whole narrative.' 

Both these reviewers give long extracts from the novel, to 
justify their praise of the author's style. In the European 
Magazine for October, I795, 8 we have a reference to the 
book, which the writer begins as follows: * 4 

In Mrs. Radcliffe's 'Romance of the Forest/ (a Novel far 
superior, I think, to her 'Mysteries of Udolpho') we have some 
pleasing speculations on, the reunion of friends in a future 
state of existence; they deserve to be detached from the volume, 
and inserted in your valuable miscellany. 

This quotation introduces a question upon which there 
has been some difference of opinion that of the relative 
literary value of The Romance of the Forest and The Mys- 
teries of Udolpho. Mrs. Barbauld, in her preface to Mrs. 

1 20. 352. November, 1792. 
'8.82. May, 1792. 



j ? - t ^ 

1 28. 230. October, 1795. 



38 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Radcliffe's works, 1 speaks of The Romance of the Forest 
as 'the first production of this lady, in which her peculiar 
genius was strikingly developed, . . . and in some re- 
spects . . . the best/ Later on, in referring to The 
Mysteries of Udolpho, she says : 'It abounds still more with 
instances of mysterious and terrific appearances, but has 
perhaps less of character, and a more imperfect story.' 
George Moir, on the other hand, in the seventh edition of 
the Encyclopedia Britannica, gives his opinion as follows: 

It may be said in a word, that th.e Romance of the Forest, 
founded on a French cause celebre, has the fewest faults ; that 
the Italian, though extremely unequal, and in the third volume 
a comparative failure, contains the. most striking and dramatic 
scenes ; but that the Mysteries of Udolpho is on the whole, and 
justly, considered the best. 1 

Miss Anna Seward, in a letter written August 3, 1794,* 

says: 

Her Mysteries of Udolpho is a much superior work to her 
Romance of the Forest. The first volume of that is fine, the 
rest heavy, uninteresting, and contain very affected writing. 

Some of the reviewers of The Mysteries of Udolpho , 
while giving it high praise? seem reluctant to consider it an 
advance over the earlier book. ' For instance, the Critical 
Review f or 



With regard to the work before us, while we acknowledge the 
extraordinary powers of Mrs. Radcliffe, some readers will be 
inclined to doubt whether they have been exerted -in the present 
work with equal effect as in the Romance of the Forest. 

A preference for the one work or the other is probably a 
matter of personal fancy, although there may be some justice 
in the comment of a reviewer that the author might write 
a better story than The Mysteries of Udolpho 'when no 

1 British Novelists, Vol. 43. 

" Treatises on Poetry, Modern Romance and Rhetoric, pp. 197-206. 

' Letters 3. 389. 

4 2. 262. 



Work 39 

tonger disposed to sacrifice excellence to quantity, and 
lengthen out a story for the sake of filling an additional 
volume/ 1 Mrs. Kavanagh remarks that the title of The 
Romance of the Forest suggests some of the most delightful 
associations in English poetry Robin Hood, and the Forest 
of Arden; that after Shakespeare there is a great gap in 
forest-literature, and that Mrs. Radcliffe is the first after 
him to give us once more woodland scenery in its freshness 
and beauty. 

Certainly the charm of the out-of-doors is felt in The 
Romance of the Forest. Although the scene is presumably 
in France, it was undoubtedly the author's love of English 
woods that inspired her descriptions. Her devotion to 
Windsor Forest is mentioned by her biographers; we are 
told that she came to know certain trees there, and to feel 
a special fondness for them as individuals. English scenery 
was responsible for this new picture of life in a forest, just 
as unmistakably as Shakespeare's knowledge of English 
woodlands gave us the Forest of Arden. -^ 

One tiling is beyond question. By the time of the publi- 
cation of The Mysteries of Udolpho, Mrs. Radcliffe's place 
as an author was assured. The appearance of a new book 
bearing her name was evidently an important event in the 
literary world, for it is heralded fcr weeks in the columns of 
the London Chronicle, and the notices are always placed in 
a prominent position, as if the book were considered of 
especial importance. The first advertisement, on Thursday, 
April 24, 1794 (77-391), reads as follows: 

In a few Days will be published, 
In Four very large Volumes Twelves, 

The Mysteries of Udolpho : A Romance ; interspersed with -ome 
Pieces of Poetry, etc. 

By Ann Radcliffe, 

Author of the Romance of the Forest, &c. 
Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster row. 

1 Critical Review 2. 372. August, 1794, 






I 



40 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

The first notice of actual publication occurs in the London 
Chronicle for 'Saturday, May to, 1794. 

Incidentally it may be remarked that Mrs. Radcliffe's 
change of publisher possibly indicates her growing fame and 
prosperity as an author. In Rees and Britain's Literary 
London, from 1779 to 1853 (P- 37 )> tms reference is made 
to the Robinsons : 

The Robinsons, at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of 
I the nineteenth centuries, when I first became acquainted with the 
firm, carried on the largest business of any house in London, 
as general publishers, and also as wholesale and retail book- 
sellers. , . . They published largely books of considerable 
size and of great value. The head of the firm was considered 
to have an excellent judgment in the difficult and often critical 
undertaking of the superintendence and management of the 
literary concerns of a publishing establishment. He greatly 
respected meritorious authors, and acted with singular liberality 
in his pecuniary dealings with them. 

That a firm of such reputation was willing to pay 500 
for a work of fiction is testimony to the distinction which the 
author had already attained. 

The reviews of The Mysteries of Udolpho are many, and, 
for the most part, distinctly favorable. Almost invariably 
they are given the dignity of a leading place in the magazine, 
and most of the reviewers indulge in copious extracts to 
illustrate the author's style. A few quotations will show the 
general tone of the reviews. 

The Monthly Review for November, I794, 1 in a long and 
enthusiastic account of the book, contains these comments : 

The works of this ingenious writer not only possess, in com- 
mon with many other productions of the same class, the agree- 
able qualities of correctness of sentiment and elegance of style, 
but are also distinguished by a rich vein of invention, which sup- 
plies an endless variety of incidents to fill the imagination of 
the reader ; by an admirable ingenuity of contrivance to awaken 
his curiosity, and to bind him in the chains of suspence; and 

1 IS. 278. 



Work 41 

by a vigour of conception and a delicacy of feeling which are 
capable of producing the strongest sympathetic emotions, 
whether of pity or terror. 

. . . The embellishments of the work are highly finished. 
The descriptions are rich, glowing, and varied : they discover a 
vigorous imagination and an uncommon command of language; 
and many of them would furnish admirable subjects for the 
pencil of the painter. 

The British Critic 1 has a review almost as appreciative: 

We so very seldom find in a work of imagination, those quali- 
ties combined, which are necessary to its successful accomplish- 
ment, that when the event does happen, we distinguish it as a 
place of repose from our severer labours, and are happy to be- 
guile the hours of weariness and chagrin beneath the shade 
which fancy spreads around. A tale, regularly told, neither 
offending probability by its extravagance, nor fatiguing by its 
want of vivacity or incident, has ever been esteemed among 
those labours of the mind which the critic cannot disdain to 
commend, nor genius to introduce, and when it is further em- 
bellished by the charms of good writing, is the vehicle of ingenu- 
ous sentiments, and inculcates the purest morality, it eminently 
takes the lead in that class of writings, which is professedly 
designed for entertainment. 

Mrs-. Radcliffe had before obtained considerable reputation, 
from the cultivation of this branch of literature, and we are 
happy that it has fallen to our province to record one of the 
best and most interesting of her works. 

The onl% serious. .Criticism brought against the book is in 
regard to the superabundance of description. The Euro- 
pean Magazine* speaks of the author as 'minute even to 
tedious prolixity in her local descriptions/ but the reviewer 
takes off the curse from this criticism by adding, 'a weight 
which would have hung with deadening power about the 
neck of a composition not [animated by the utmost vigour of 
imagination// 

*4. no. August, 1794. 
'25.433. June, 1794. 



42 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Although some of the critics differ as to the relative 
literary value of The Romance of t\w Forest and The Mys- 
teries of Udolpho, most of them agree that the latter was, 
of all Mrs. Radcliffe's novels, the most popular. This popu- 
larity is natural enough. The^jjreater complication of the 
plot, the wider range of experience to which we are intro- 
duced, the increased number of thrills and surprises, and the 
really remarkable description of the Castle of Udolpho, all 
were calculated to appeal to the popular taste. Even now 
the charm has not wholly departed, if, forgetting to read 
critically, we submit ourselves to its power. We feel a little 
shiver of apprehension when the black pall on the bed slowly 
begins to rise. We share Emily's excitement and hope 
when, in her chamber in the gloomy castle, she hears the 
notes of a familiar song, and thinks that her lover is near. 
Talfourd's judgment is probably right when he says, 'Of all 
the romances in the world, this is perhaps the most ro- 
mantic/ 1 It is, possibly, the excess of romance which has 
made the world tire of it. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's next work was an attempt in an entirely 
different field an account of her trip through Holland and 
Germany, and her visit to the English Lake-region. The 
notice of this publication appears in the London Chronicle 
for May 21, 1795. It received as much attention in the 
magazines as the novels had in fact, even more, so far as 
space was concerned, for some of the magazines gave a 
review long enough to be divided among two or three 
numbers. Works of travel were popular at that time, and 
it seems to have been generally conceded that Mrs. Rad- :>, 
cliffe's talent for description peculiarly fitted her for such 

Y writing. It was suggested, however, in some of the reviews, 
that she put too much of her strength into description of 

1 natural scenery, instead of studying men and manners. One 

~~ir, p. 126. 



Work 43 

f^reviewer remarked that she looked at scenes 'not with the 
eye of a philosopher, but a landscape painter.' 1 

The same review contains Mrs. Radcliffe's explanation of 
her use of the term we : 

She observes, in a preface, 'that her journey having been 
performed in the company of her nearest relative and friend, 
the account of it has been written so much from their mutual 
observation, that there would be a deception in permitting the 
book to appear without some acknowledgment which may dis- 
tinguish it from works entirely her own. The title-page would, 
therefore, have contained the joint names of her husband and 
herself, if this mode of appearing before the public, besides 
being thought by that relative a greater acknowledgment than 
was due to his share of the work, had not seemed liable to the 
imputation of a design to attract attention by extraordinary 
novelty. It is, however, necessary to her own satisfaction, that 
some notice should be taken of this assistance.' 

Modern readers would probably find the Journey through 
Holland too exclusively a work of description. The books 
of travel which are popular to-day have more of the narra- 
tive-interest. Most of us would like better the informal 
notes of her journal, from which a few extracts have already 
been given. To quote from a review of the Posthumous 
Works: 

They are far more interesting, and a thousand times more 
graphic, than her published Journal of her tour to Holland and 
Germany, where much of the original spirit of the sketches 
seems to have evaporated in the process of preparation for the 
press. 

But for her contemporaries the Journey evidently pos- 
sessed great interest, and some reviewers even seemed to 
feel that it was a work which deserved more serious con- 
sideration than the novels. The Critical Review* for 
instance, remarks: 

* English Review 26. I. July, 1795. 
1 N. Ar. 14. 241. July, 1795. 



44 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

The character of Mrs. Radcliffe's pen, for a peculiar felicity 
in the description of objects of fancy, has been acknowledged 
by universal suffrage. The repeated instances of this given in 
the 'Mysteries of Udolpho,' where the objects are fanciful, and 
the descriptions consequently arbitrary, and sometimes redund- 
ant, excited a public wish that she might engage in a work 
where the same talent should be necessarily employed to 
delineate the grandeur, beauty, or sublimity of real scenery, and 
where the recurrence of description, following only the exhi- 
bitions of nature, should not be oppressive. Such a work is 
now before us, and we have not been disappointed in the ex- 
pectations we were taught to form. 

Another bit of testimony as to contemporary opinion is 
given by Thomas Green in his Diary of a Lover of Litera- 
ture, in the entry for May 26, 1800: 

Read Mrs. Radcliffe's Tour to the Lakes. Much might per- 
haps be expected from this Lady's well known powers of 
description, exerted on so congenial a theme: but to paint from 
the imagination, and to copy nature, are such different achieve- 
ments, that I was surprised, I confess, to find that she had 
succeeded so well, and failed so little. Her pictures, though 
somewhat overwrought and heavy compared with the expressive 
etchings of Gray, exhibit as clear distinct and forcible images 
to the mind's eye, as it is well possible for words to convey. 
Such a series of them 'where pure description holds the place of 
sense,' would probably pall on most palates ; but so strong a 
passion do I feel for the keen delights of picturesque and moun- 
tain scenery, that I was gratified, I own, to the last* 

The Italian was first announced in December, 1796. 
About this book there has been more difference of opinion 
than about any of the others. To some critics it was the 
high-water mark of Mrs. Radcliffe's achievement; to others , 
it showed a distinct falling-off. Modern opinion would 
perhaps incline toward the former view. This story has 
more unity of plot than the others ; it has more real delinea- 
tion of character; and its suggestion of the -supernatural is, 
if anything, niore impressive than that in The Mysteries of 
Udolpho. 

1 Diary of a Lover of Literature, p. 225. 



\ 



Work 45 

Most of the reviewers unite in considering the monk, Sche- 
doni, as the most successful of Mrs. Radcliffe's characters. 
Some, indeed, find fault with him as being too appallingly 
wicked, while others assert that, when she tries to soften his 
character by a touch of parental affection, he becomes unreal. 
But certainly he makes upon us the impression of a person- 
ality; he is not, as Hazlitt said of her heroes Valancourt, 
Theodore, and the rest merely 'a sounding name, a graceful 
form/ 1 

One interesting comment on the book is made by a writer 
in the United States Review and Literary Gazette? 

No one, who thinks of the new power which seems suddenly 
to have developed itself in The Italian/ but must feel sorry that 
she did not set about another work while her mind was yet 
glowing with the exercise of that she had just finished. We 
allude to the masterly dialogues in that greatest of her works, 
particularly in the interview between the Marchesa and Schedoni 
in the church of San Nicolo; that between Schedoni and 
Spalatro, when the latter refuses to murder Ellena ; and in the 
scene, also, in which Schedoni discovers Ellena to be his 
daughter. The deadly shrewdness, the sophistry with a mixture 
of emotion in the first ; the close, abrupt and highly impassioned 
character of the next, and those following, have seldom been 
approached by any novelist. It is this which puts life, indeed, 
into a story, and when we think what Mrs. Radcliffe might have 
done, had she gone on thus, we cannot but feel sad at what we 
have lost. 

This praise seems, on the' whole, just. Although passages 
can be found in The 'Italian in which the conversation is 
artificial and out of character, and although the faithful 
servant Paulo strikes us as being wearisomely prosy rather 
than amusing, the passages mentioned are certainly different 
from anything found in the earlier novels. Mrs. Radcliffe 
here uses dialogue as a means both of revealing character 
and of advancing the action ; t and she does it skilfully. 

1 Sketches and Essays, p. 267. 
'a i. April, 1827. 



46 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Schedoni as a character is inevitably connected with 
Schedoni as an actor in the most dramatic scene of the book. 
It is melodrama if you like, but it is melodrama raised to its 
most successful pitch, if we can trust its effect upon con- 
temporary opinion. 

The Monthly Review 1 says of this scene : 

The part, however, which displays the greatest genius, and 
the most force of description, is the account of the scenes which 
passed in the lone house on the shore of the Adriatic, between 
Schedoni, Ellena, and Spalatro : the horrible sublimity which 
characterizes the discovery made by the former that Ellena 
was his daughter, at the instant in which he was about to stab 
her, is perhaps unparalleled. 

The Edinburgh Review, 2 in commenting upon Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's powers of description, refers to the same passage : 

Do we not actually see before us that lone house by the 
Mediterranean, with the scudding clouds, the screaming sea- 
birds, the stormy sea the scene selected for the murder of 
Ellena by her father ? 

Dr. Nathan Drake, in his Literary Hours (i. 361), calls 
Mrs. Radcliffe 'the Shakespeare of Romance Writers/ and 
goes on to say : 

In her last piece, termed The Italian, the attempt of Schedoni 
to assassinate the amiable and innocent Ellena, whilst confined 
with banditti in a lone house on the sea-shore, is wrought up 
in so masterly a manner, that every nerve vibrates with pity 
and terror, especially at the moment when, about to plunge a 
dagger into her bosom, he discovers her to be his daughter; 
every word, every action of the shocked and self-accusing Con- 
fessor, whose character is marked with traits almost super- 
human, appal yet delight the reader, and it is difficult to ascertain 
whether ardent curiosity, intense commiseration, or apprehen- 
sion that suspends almost the faculty of breathing, be, in the 
progress of this well-written story, most powerfully excited. 

*22. 282. March, 1797. 
July, 1834. 



Work 



47 



It must be admitted that there were opinions less favorable 
to the book. Green said, 1 'This work will maintain, but not 
extend Mrs. Radcliffe's fame as a novelist.' Anna Seward 2 
declared that 'the story, ... as usual, toils after the 
terrible ; but produces it, surely, with less effect than in her 
former productions. 1 

A writer in the English Review* seems to account very 
reasonably for the disappointment which some people felt in 
reading The Italian : 

It was impossible to raise curiosity and expectation to a. 
higher pitch than she has done in her Mysteries of Udolpho; 
yet these mysteries she accounted for in a natural manner. 
The reader of The Italian now before us sits down with Ihis 
conviction. As children who have been frighted, by an ideal 
bugbear, and afterwards convinced that there was nothing in 
it, will cry, 'No, nol we know what it is; you cannot frighten 
us again :' so, we acknowledge, does the perusal of the present 
romance affect us. 

It seems very probable that, had The Italian appeared be- 
fore Mrs. Radcliffe had so thoroughly accustomed the public 
to her habit of explaining away her terrors, it would have 
been universally considered, as it was considered by many 
critics, the best of her works, Scott speaks with especial 
enthusiasm of the opening scene of the story, 4 and he is in- 
clined to defend the scenes dealing with the Inquisition, 
which had received rather more unfavorable criticism than 
the rest of the book. 

The Italian was the last publication which appeared in 
Mrs. Radcliffe's lifetime, with the exception of a slim volume 
of poems, dated London, 1816. This volume has the fol- 
lowing rather puzzling preface : 

The Editor of this little volume trusts that he need not offer 
any apology for presenting it to the public. The genius of the 

1 Diary of a Lover of Literature, p. 28. 

' Letters 4. 382. 

'28. 574. December, 1796. 

4 Lives of the Novelists, p. 218. 



48 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

author has been universally acknowledged. The merit of the 
different pieces which compose this collection, is variable some 
are beautiful, and bear every mark of a poetical imagination. 
Her genius was of the sterling kind, and partook much of the 
masculine character : and the Editor feels assured that this 
volume will be welcome to those who have repeatedly been 
delighted by the efforts of that genius 1 whose souls have started, 
and whose eyes have wept, at the scenes of terror and pity which 
she has portrayed. That her genius was poetical is proved by 
the beautiful and sublime descriptions of scenery with which her 
romances abound descriptions seldom equalled, and, perhaps, 
no where surpassed. 

The Editor has only to add, that the pieces which occur be- 
yond page 95 are his own, with whatever faults, therefore, they 
are chargeable, they are to be placed to his own account. 

One would suppose that such a preface could be written 
only by a close relative of the author, and that only one 
nearly connected would presume to finish out a volume of 
her poems with his own. But when we remember the care- 
ful reserve with which Mr. Radcliffe spoke of his wife's 
work, even after her death, we feel that this is not at all in 
his style. Moreover, the past tense used throughout would 
prevent us from ascribing it to him, for it would seem to 
imply that the writer supposed Mrs. Radcliffe to be no longer 
living. No help can be found in reviews, lor the volume 
seems to have attracted no attention. . 

JVVith so long a gap from 'The Italian .in^i796 to her 
posthumous works in iS^S-r-one might f ancy tbat~Mrs7 Rad- 
cliiYe would have been entirely forgotten. Nothing shows 
more conclusively the place she had occupieJlrt pyhTTr favnf 
than the lively interest with which, thes-last volumes. 



received.^ The book was advertised, before its publication, 
even more extensively than the earlier ones had been. The 
Morning Chronicle began announcing it on March 20. The 
announcement, the first in the column and in large type, 
read: 

The following new works will shortly be published by Mr. 
Colburn. 



Work 49 

Cast on de Bhndeville; a Romance, with some Poetical Pieces. 
By Anne Radcliffc, Author of The Romance of the Forest, Mys- 
teries of Udolpho, Italian, etc. To which will be prefixed, a 
Memoir of the Author, and Extracts from her Diary. Published 
from the originals, in the possession of William Radcliffe, Esq. 
4 vols. post 8vo. 

The same announcement, or practically the same, followed 
at intervals of a few days, ten times during the next three 
months, until finally, on June 12, 1826, the actual publication 
was announced. Before this final announcement, there ap- 
peared on June 6 an advertisement of the complete works 
of Mrs. Radcliffe: 

Jdrs. Radcliffe's Works: The whole of the Works of _ the 
above celebrated Authoress can be had complete (embellished 
with numerous Engravings) in the two first volumes of Lim- 
bird's British Novelist, for the trifling sum of Ten Shillings in 
boards.Vol. I contains The Mysteries of Udolpho, and The 
Sicilian Romance. Vol. II contains The Romance of the Forest, 
Italian, and The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne.Vo\&. Ill and 
IV are nearly ready for delivery, price 53. each. 
Printed and published by J. Limbird, 143, Strand, London. 

That news of the posthumous novel had spread even be- 
fore the first announcement quoted above, and that it had 
reached the literary public of America, as well as that of 
England, is shown by an item in the Museum of Foreign 
Literature and Science, published in Philadelphia and New 
York 1 : 

Mr. Colburn will shortly publish a Romance by Ann Radcliffe, 
author of 'The Mysteries of Udolpho/ etc. This announcement 
will, no doubt, excite the greatest interest among all classes of 
the 'reading public/ who will eagerly welcome a new and genuine 
work by the 'Great Enchantress/ whose pen has apparently been 
so long idle. The forthcoming Romance would have been 
published some years ago, had not the Author's nervous tem- 
perament, arising from the state of her health (which declined 
soon after the work in question was finished) made her hesitate 

*8. 94. January, 1826. (N. S. I.) 



50 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

to plunge again in the bustle of literary competition ; and being: 
in affluent circumstances, she rould afford to indulge in the 
leisure and privacy she so mucl- loved. Since the death of this 
celebrated lady, which took place in 1823, Mr. Radcliffe, her 
husband, has yielded to the solicitations pressed on him, and has 
consented that her last Romance, which will be found quite 
worthy of her fame, should be given to the world. 

The judgments of 'the critics in regard to Gaston de 
Blondeville show an amusing and bewildering variety. 
The Edinburgh Magazine 1 declares : 

Mrs. Radcliffe has long borne undisputed, and almost solitary 
sway over the regions of romance; and the book we shall now 
refer to is certainly one of her own magical writing. If external 
evidence were needed to establish the latter position, it would 
find sufficient support in the intrinsic worth of the composition. 

The Monthly Review, 2 on the other hand, pronounces a 
quite contrary opinion: 

We must, nevertheless, take the liberty to say, that if the 
authenticity of the posthumous \vritings now before us had not 
been placed beyond all doubt, we should have hesitated to be- 
lieve that they had proceeded from the author of The Mys- 
teries of Udolpho.' 

The London Literary Gasette* says that the romance is, 
'to our taste, much finer than the other works of the author/ 
and adds: 

In this romance, Mrs. Radcliffe has abandoned the principle 
to which she confined herself in her former works, and has taken 
advantage of ghostly aid. A spectre is introduced as a principal 
agent in the awful plot of Gaston de Blondeville; and we 
venture to anticipate that this unearthly being will be pronounced 
one of the most solemn creatures in our language. 

Again, the opposite opinion is presented in the Edinburgh 
Review*: 

1 18. 703. June, 1826. 

1 N. S. 2. 28a July, 1826. 

'May 27, 1826. ,> 

4 July, 1834. 



Work 51 

If anything 1 . . . could reconcile us to Mrs. Ra deli fife's 
system of explaining every thing by natural causes in her former 
romances, it would be to see how completely in this she has 
failed in the management of a true spirit. 

For the most part, however, the reviewers seem to have 
welcomed the publication of these posthumous works as an 
opportunity for a resume and appreciation of Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's work in general. The article in the Edinburgh 
Review, just quoted, was a review, not of Gaston de Blonde- 
inlle in particular, but of the poems which accompanied it, 
which had been reprinted, and apparently announced as 
new volumes, in 1834. The ending of the review resembles 
many of the others in the almost affectionate admiration 
which it shows for Mrs. Radcliffe, even while recognizing 
some of her imperfections: 

We must now bid adieu to these poems. They are little 
calculated certainly to increase the reputation of Mrs. Radcliffe ; 
1 and perhaps her friends would have acted more judiciously if 
they had allowed them to remain in that obscurity in which they 
were left by their amiable authoress. Yet we are glad of the 
opportunity they have afforded us of expressing our admiration 
of her powers as a writer of romance, and of reviving in some 
measure the recollection of that fascination which her scenes of 
beauty and terror once exercised over our fancy. That a 
critical perusal of them at the present moment, with the cool eye 
of middle age, would probably point out to us many incongrui- 
ties, and many weaknesses, is very probable. It is an experiment 
which we should take care not to hazard. We prefer leaving 
them as they float at present in our memory, here and there 
freshly remembered in their better parts, the rest fading into 
distance and half forgotten; on the whole, a pleasing pageant 
of gloomy castles and caves, moon-illumined streets and pal- 
aces, dance and Provencal song, and vintage mirth, aerial 
music floating over fairy-haunted forests, or choral chant of 
monk or nun, borne to the ear over the still waters of the 
Adriatic. 

Looking over the reviews of Mrs. Radcliffe's work, one 
finds them, on the whole, distinctly favorable. Indeed, most 



52 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

of them are more than this ; they are warmly enthusiastic. 
Even the first book, weak as it is in comparison with her 
later efforts, is spoken of in terms that would not entirely 
discourage a young author. A Sicilian Romance, as we 
have seen^ received a considerable degree of praise, and 
from the time of the publication of The Romance of the 
Forest, probably no writer of fiction could vie with her in 
j)p4)ujajtiiy J __The reviews of her posthumous works give 
more general comment on her position as an author than the 
reviews of individual novels, jjng 1 speaVc nf h**r as 'the, 
finest writer in this kind of fiction that ever existed,' and as 
'confessedly at the head of her class.' Another 2 refers to 
the volumes of poetry published in 1834 as 'the last relic of 
a highly-gifted and amiable mind, which, in its day, exer- 
cised no mean influence over the spirit of literature, and the 
charm of whose productions has perhaps been acknowledged 
more universally, and with less dispute, than that of any 
other writer of fiction.' The same writer goes on to say that 
Mrs. Radcliffe's reputation has suffered from the many imi- 
tators who tried to use her methods, without possessing her 
skill: 

But Mrs. Radcliffe was as truly an inventor, a great and 
original writer in the department she had struck out for her- 
self whether that department was of the highest kind or not 
as the Richardsons, Fieldings, and Smolletts, whom she suc- 
ceeded and for a time threw into the shade; or the Ariosto of 
the North, before whom her own star has paled its ineffectual 
fires. 

When we consider the almost unanimous expressions of 
admiration which these reviews contain, the suggestion in 
some of the obituary notices that unfavorable criticism 
caused Mrs. Radcliffe to give up her writing seems hardly 
reasonable. It is true that certain of the reviews contained 
qualifying judgments that many critics objected to her 

1 London Literary Gazette, May 27, 1826. 
1 Edinburgh Review, July, 1834. 



Work 53 

use of description, or detected errors in her local color. 
But the praise far overbalanced the blame, and no author 
of sense could object to intelligent and reasonable criticism. 
The only comment which might have seriously hurt the 
feelings of a writer sensitive to public opinion is found in an 
article on Terrorist Novel Writing in the Spirit of Public 
Journals for i^y/. 1 This is in the form of a letter, ridi- 
culing the novels 'in which it has been the fashion to make 
terror the order of the day/ and it is followed by a note 
which has a rather sneering tone : 

It is easy to see that the satire of this letter is particularly 
levelled at a literary lady of considerable talent, who has pre- 
sented the world with three novels, in which she has found out 
the secret of making us 'fall in love with what we fear to look 
on/ . . . The system of terror which she has adopted is not 
the only reproach to which she is liable. Besides the tedious 
monotony of her descriptions, she affects in the most disgusting 
manner a knowledge of languages, countries, customs, and ob- 
jects of art of which she is lamentably ignorant. She suspends 
tripods from the ceiling by chains, not knowing that a tripod 
is a utensil standing upon three feet She covers the kingdom 
of Naples with India figs because St. Pierre has introduced N 
those tropical plants in his tales, of which the scene is laid in 
India and she makes a convent of monks a necessary appendage 
to a monastery of nuns. This shows how well a lady under- 
stands the wants of her sex. Whenever she introduces an 
Italian word it is sure to be a gross violation of the language. 
Instead of making a nobleman's servant call him Padrone, or 
lllustrissimo, she makes him address him by the title of Maestro, 
which is Italian for a teacher. She converts the singular of 
Laszaroni into Lazzaro, etc. etc. etc. 

This lady's husband told a friend that he was going to Ger- 
many with his wife, the object of whose journey was to pick 

up materials for a novel. I think in that case answered his 
friend, that you had better let her go alone 1 

It would seem, however, that, if there were enough un- 
favorable criticisms to affect Mrs. Radcliffe to any great 

* i. 323. 



54 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

degree, they must have appeared, not in magazines of the 
better class, but in more ephemeral periodicals, not accessible 
to us to-day. 

One sure t^cHrnnnyJO popularity is irjTJtatjnn^flriH of that 

MrsTRadcUffe had her full share. This has bserrTmlor- 
tunate for her reputation, for not enough distinction has 
been madelfefweeti'the original and the very inferior copies. 
From about 1795 on, we find reviewed a constant succession 
of novels, the only distinction of which seems to be a more 
or less successful imitation of Mrs. Radcliffe's style. A' 
review of Austenburn Castle, in I796, 1 tells us the plight of 
the reviewer: 

Since Mrs. Radcliffe's justly admired and successful romances, 
the press has teemed with stories of haunted castles and vis- 
ionary terrors; the incidents of which are so little diversified, 
that criticism is at a loss to vary its remarks. 

A reference to the number of imitations occurs in a review 
of Valombrosa, or the Venetian Nun, in i8o5 2 : 

Amongst the numerous, or, to speak with more propriety, 
innumerable/imitations of 'the Mysteries of Udolpho,' with which 
the press has groaned, we must rank the present production. 

As late as 1812, when we should imagine Mrs. Radcliffe's 
vogue to have been somewhat past, we have notice of an- 
other attempt to rival her, Rosalie, or the Castle of Montala- 
bretti. 3 

One thing is noticeable that the reviewers all make care- 
ful distinction between Mrs. Radcliffe and her imitators, a 
distinction which later critics have not always observed. 
The same attitude is taken as a rule by her contemporaries 
whenever they comment upon her. They seem to have 
realized that she had originated, or at least developed to a 
high degree, a really new style of writing, and that she was 



1 Critical Review, N. Ar. 16. 222. 
* Critical Review, N. Ar. 43. 329. 
'Monthly Review 67.320. 



Work 55 

not responsible for the abuse which it received at the hands 
of lesser authors. This attitude is expressed in a passage in 
one of Miss Sewafd's letters, August 3, I794 1 : 

I read not, neither doubtless do you, the Novel trash of the 
day. Hours are too precious for such frivolous waste, where 
the mind has in itself any valuable resources ; yet are there a 
few pens which possess the power so to inspirit those fond 
fancies of the brain, as to render them gratifying to an imagin- 
ation which demands more to please it than amorous story. 
Mrs. Radcliffe's pen is of this number. Though she aims not 
at the highly important morality of the great Richardson, nor 
possesses scarce a portion of his ample, his matchless ability, in 
discriminating characters, 

' Yet does she mount, and keep her distant way 

Above the limits of the vulgar page.' 

A book entitled Literary Memoirs of Living Authors of 
Great Britain, published in 1798, speaks of Mrs. Radcliffe as 
'a lady of great distinction in the literary world as a Novel- 
writer. . . . Her powers of pleasing, in this line of 
composition, are very singularly great ; and the happy com- 
bination of various talents which her pieces display, entitles 
their author to rank among the first novel-writers of her 
age/ Two French biographical works, published shortly 
after her death, have extended notices of her: the Bio- 
graphie Universelle? and the Biographie Nouvelle des Con- 
temp orains* ,' 

This discussion of Mrs. Radcliffe as estimated by her con- 
temporaries has, of necessity, presented many anonymous 
judgments, for the revie.ws in magazines of the time were, 
for the most part, unsigned. They are important, however, 
since the leading magazines reflected to a considerable extent 
the general literary opinion. One might with good excuse 
include here the opinions 'of some of the more famous 

. * Letters 

'36.525. 
'Vol. 17. 



56 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Tims 

authors who were practically her contemporaries men like 
Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt, Byron and Shelley. But their 
period of production came later than hers, so that they seem 
to belong: to a different generation. Moreover, their judg- 
ments of her, and the general question of her influence upon 
them, have been already more discussed than the points 
which I am intending to treat here. My attempt has been 
to show how Mrs. Radcliffe's books were received~6n their 
appearance, to consider her as an active writer, rather than 
to estimate her influence upon the literature of a later period. 
It is well to remember, however, that not only those of her 
own generation, but many in the generation succeeding, 
read her works with interest and admiration. In the Ro- 
mantic movement she was a transitional figure, developing 
and passinef-on-^to the later men tendencies and themes with 

*"' I. , _ i. I ' " '- ,|- , , |M 

which the earlier ones had been experimenting ; and it was 
her extreme popularity, as shown in these contemporary 
expressions, which enabled her to pass on so rnttefrT" 

Section 2. Sources of the Novels. 

The first two of Mrs. Radcliffe's novels point to no very 
definite source. They show in general more influence from 
Walpole and Clara Reeve than the later books. The 
Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne resembles The Castle of 
Otranto in having for one of its principal characters a noble- 
natured young man, supposedly a peasant, who turns out 
to be a long-missing heir, and who finally makes a happy 
marriage. The same theme was used in The Old English 
Baron. 

A Sicilian Romance uses Walpole's scheme of pretending 
to find his story in an old manuscript. The story itself, 
however, does not show much resemblance to either of its 
predecessors, unless we see in the Marquis* cruel and unjust 
treatment of his wife and daughters some suggestion of 
The Castle of Otranto. 



Work 57 

~ 

In The Romance of the Forest Mrs. Radcliffe seems to 
declare her source frankly : 

Whoever has read Guyot de Pitaval, the most faithful of 
those writers who record the proceedings in the Parliamentary 
Courts of Paris, during the seventeenth century, must surely 
.remember the striking story of Pierre de la Motte, and the 
Marquis Phillipe de Montalt; let all such, therefore, be in- 
formed, that the person here introduced to their notice was that 
individual Pierre de la Motte. 1 

A search through de Pitaval's Causes Celebres, however, 
has failed to reveal any suit recorded under these names. 
The only place, apparently, where the name La Motte oc- 
curred, was in connection with an entirely different suit. 
Whether Mrs. Radcliffe took some one of the stories, and 
changed the names, or whether she merely ascribed her 
story to de Pitaval, to have a plausible-sounding source, 
seems uncertain. 

Mrs. Radcliffe would have been most likely to know de 
Pitaval, perhaps, in a series of stories which were translated 
and adapted from the Causes Celebres by Charlotte Smith, 
in 1787, under the title The Romance of Real Life. The 
probability that she was familiar with this work is increased 
by the fact that she and Charlotte Smith both have the same 
misspelling of de Pitaval's name, writing it Guyot instead 
of Gayot. One of these stories might have given some 
suggestion for The Romance of the Forest. This is the 
account of Mademoiselle de Choiseul. In this, the Duke de 
la Valliere promised his sister to take care of her child: 

. . . but when he found that, by suppressing what he knew 
of her birth, he should divide considerable property as heir to 
that sister, he scrupled not to violate every promise he had given 
her, not only on the birth of her child, but again when she was 
dying; and now, when her daughter claimed her own property, 
desired to have authentic proof of what he knew better than any- 
one proofs, which it was more difficult for her to bring, as all 

1 Romance of the Forest, p. 2. 



5 8 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

the family papers were in the hands of the very person who de~ 
manded them, and whose interest it was to conceal every me- 
morial of the contested fact. 1 

This is not unlike the situation in The Romance of the 
Forest. Here the Marquis has actually had his brother put 
to death, in order to get the money which that brother had 
inherited from his wife. The young daughter is put in a 
convent, and, when she refuses to take the veil, the Marquis 
orders her death. When, later on, he finds that she has 
escaped his cruel commands, he tells La Motte to kill her. 
Again his tool fails to obey. At the end of the story the 
truth is revealed. Adeline is to appear in a trial-scene 
under very similar circumstances to those in The Romance 
of Real Life, when the trial is made unnecessary by the 
suicide of the Marquis. 

We still find in The Romance of the Forest details in- 
herited from Walpole and Clara Reeve. One of the most 
striking resemblances in situation is Adeline's dream when 
she has been reading the manuscript she finds in the room 
net, hers in the old abbey. 2 It is very similar to Edmund's 
dream in The Old English Baron, and the cause is. the same. 
Adeline, like Edmund, is sleeping near the unburied bones 
of her father. Incidentally it may be remarked that this is 
one touch of the supernatural which Mrs. Radcliffe does not 
explain away. 

~~"ln regard to The Mysteries of Udolpho, one source is 
mentioned by Green in his Diary of a Lover of Literature 9 : 

Read the first volume of Mrs. Piozzi's Travels in Italy. Tol- 
erably amusing, but for a pert flippancy, and ostentation of 
learning. Mrs. Radcliffe has taken from this work her vivid 
description of Venice and of the Brenta, but oh ! how improved 
in the transcript. 

'* Romance of Real Life 3. 136. 
'1.269. 
' Nov. 25, 1800. Quoted in the Gentleman's Magazine, N. S. I. 10. 



Work 59 

This suggestion is interesting, because it shows us some- 
thing of Mrs. Radcliffe's methods of work. She evidently 
had more groundwork of fact in her descriptions than she 
was sometimes given credit for; she took the authentic 
record of actual travel, and let her imagination play about 
it. A comparison of a few passages from The Mysteries of 
Udolpho with corresponding passages from Mrs. Piozzi's 
Journey will show that one was undoubtedly the source of 
the other ; in fact, at times the resemblance is so close that 
we wonder that Mrs. Piozzi did not claim credit as a 
collaborator. 

Take first the description of the Brenta itself. Mrs. 
Piozzi's version 1 : 

It was on the twenty-first of May then that we returned up 
the Brenta in a barge to Padua, stopping from time to time to 
give refreshment to our conductors and their horse, which 
draws on the side, as one sees them at Richmond; where the 
banks are scarcely more beautifully adorned by art, than here by 
nature; though the Brenta is a much narrower river than the 
Thames at Richmond, and its villas, so justly celebrated, far 
less frequent. The sublimity of their architecture however, 
the magnificence of their orangeries, the happy construction of 
the cool arcades, and general air of festivity which breathes 
upon the banks of this truly wizard stream, planted with dancing, 
not weeping willows, to which on a bright evening the lads and 
lasses run for shelter from the sun beams, Et fugit ad salices, et 
se cupit ante videri ; are I suppose, peculiar to itself. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's 2 : 

The noble Brenta, pouring its broad waves into the sea, now 
appeared, and, when she reached its mouth, the barge stopped, 
that the horses might be fastened which were to tow it up the 
stream. This done, Emily gave a last look to the Adriatic, and 
to the dim sail, 

That from the sky-mix'd wave 

Dawns on the sight, 

* Observations and Reflections made in the Course of a Journey 
through France, Italy and Germany, p. 221. 
1 Mysteries of Udolpho 2. 121. 



60 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

and the barge slowly glided between the green and luxuriant 
slopes of the river. The grandeur of the Palladian villas, that 
adorn these shores, was considerably heightened by the setting 
* rays, which threw strong contrasts of light and shade upon the 
porticos and long arcades, and beamed a mellow lustre upon the 
orangeries and tall groves of pine and cypress, that overhung 
the buildings. The scent of oranges, of flowering myrtles, and 
other odoriferous plants was diffused upon the air, and often, 
from these embowered retreats, a strain of music stole on the 
calm, and 'softened into silence.' 

Mrs. Radcliffe here makes an addition very characteristic 
of her the setting sun. She is rarely content to give us 
merely the features of the landscape; she shows them as 
affected by atmospheric conditions. Also her description 
becomes more vivid than Mrs. Piozzi's from her inclusion 
of odors and sounds, as well as those things which appeal to 
the sense of sight. Both give much the same impression of 
the ladies of Venice. 

Mrs. Piozzi 1 : 

A Venetian lady has in particular so sweet a manner naturally 
that she really charms without any settled intent to do so, merely 
from that irresistible good-humor and mellifluous tone of voice 
which seize the soul, and detain it in despite of Juno-like 
majesty, or Minerva-like wit. 

Mrs. Radcliffe 2 : 

In the evening, Madame Montoni . . . received visits 
from some Venetian ladies, with whose sweet manners Emily 
was particularly charmed. They had an air of ease and kindness 
towards the strangers, as if they had been their familiar friends 
for years; and their conversation was by turns tender, senti- 
mental, and gay. 

Another comparison will show that one of Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's most famous passages, 3 although she once more 

1 Op. cit. t p. 183. 

* Op. cit., p. 67. 

' The one which Byron recalls in Childe Harold, Canto 4, stanza I. 



Work 61 

aided by the setting sun has added much, is not entirely 
her own inspiration. 

Mrs. Piozzi 1 : 

St. Mark's place, after all I had read and all I had heard of 
it, exceeded expectation; such a cluster of excellence, 'such a 
constellation of artificial beauties, my mind had never ventured 
to excite the idea of within herself; though assisted with all 
the powers of doing so which painters can bestow, and with all 
the advantages derived from verbal and written description. 
... . The general effect produced by such architecture, such 
painting, such pillars; illuminated as I saw them last night by 
the moon at full, rising out of the sea, produced an effect like 
enchantment. . . . From the top [of the tower in St Mark's 
Place] is presented to one's sight the most striking of all pros- 
pects, water bounded by land not land by water. The curious 
and elegant islets upon which, and into which, the piles of Venice 
are driven, exhibiting clusters of houses, churches, palaces, every 
thing started up in the midst of the sea, so as to excite amaze- 
ment. 

Mrs. Radcliffe 2 : 

Nothing cculd exceed Emily's admiration, on her first view of 
Venice, with its islets, palaces, and towers rising out of the sea, 
whose clear surface reflected the tremulous picture in all its 
colours. The sun, sinking in the west, tinted the waves and the 
lofty mountains of Friuli, which skirts the northern shores of 
the Adriatic, with a saffron glow, while on the marble porticos 
and colonnades of St. Mark were thrown the rich lights and 
shades of evening. As they glided on, the grander features of 
this city appeared more distinctly ; its terraces, crowned with airy 
yet majestic fabrics, touched, as they now were, with the 
splendour of the setting sun, appeared as if they had been 
called up from the ocean by the wand of an enchanter, rather 
than reared by mortal hands. 

Several other passages might be quoted, but these are 
probably enough to show Mrs. Radcliffe's debt to Mrs. 
Piozzi. 

1 Observations, etc., p. 151. 
' Mysteries of Udolpho 2. 35. 



62 



Ann Rcdcliffe in Relation to Her Time 



Another possible source for the trip on the Brenta may 
be found in Schiller's Ghostseer 1 : 

Our little voyage was exceedingly delightful. A picturesque 
country, which at every winding of the river seem>'<l to increase 
in richness. and beauty; the serenity of the sky, which formed a 
May day in the middle of February; the charming gardens and 
elegant country-seats which adorned the banks of the Brenta; 
the majestic city of Venice behind us, with its lofty spires, and 
a forest of masts, rising as it were out of the waves; all this 
afforded us one of the most splendid prospects in the world. 

One difficulty here, however, is that the English trans- 
lation of Dcr Geisterscher did not appear until 1795, too 
late to have had any influence upon The Mysteries of Udol- 
pho. Unless we are to think that Mrs. Radcliffe was famil- 
iar with the original, we must consider the resemblance in 
the passages as merely accidental. We have perhaps no 
positive reason fqr concluding that she did not know the 
original. Buyers, in an article on The Influence of Schil- 
ler's Drama and Fiction upon English Literature* says : 

Mrs. Radcliffe, apparently, knew no German, nor are there 
any references to German literature in her account of a Journey 
through Holland and the western frontier of Germany, 

This is, however, rather negative proof. Moreover, 
Buyers seems to forget his own conclusion when to his 
statement, 'Schedoni alone of Mrs. RadclinVs characters 
seems to owe something to the influence of Schiller/ he 
adds this note : 

Since this was written, it has struck me that very possibly 
Montoni may be a fearsome blend of the Armenian and the 
brothers Moor. 

If The Ghostseer could influence the character of Mon- 
toni, Mrs. RadclifTe must certainly have had some knowl- 
edge of the book prior to the writing of The Mysteries of 
Udolpho. 



*En%itick* Studien 48. 350. 



Work 

Buyers seems justified in pointing out Mrs. Raddiffe's 
indebtedness to The Ghostseer in The Italian, although he is 
perhaps not quite accurate in saying that Schiller's influence 
is found only hi the character of Schedoni. It is not Sche- 
doni who speaks in the voice of warning and prophecy ; it is 
the mysterious monk of Paluzzi, Schedoni's enemy. 

But, as he points out, there are several scenes which show 
striking similarity. One which he mentions takes place 
between Vivaldi and the monk, when Vivaldi is on his way 
to see Ellena : 

'You are too late/ said a sudden voice beside Vivaldi, who 
instantly re< ognized the thrilling accents of the monk. 'It is 
past midnight ; she departed an hour ago. Look to your steps !' 

This certainly does suggest the words of the Armenian. 
in The Ghostseer. 'Neun Uhr.' 'Wiinschen sie sich Gluck, 
prinz. Um neun Uhr ist er gestorben.' 

Vivaldi's comment is : 

I am warned of evils that await me, of events that are regu- 
larly fulfilled; the being who warns me crosses my path per- 
petually, yet, with the cunning of a demon, as constantly eludes 
my grasp and baffles my pursuit. 

This is very much like the reflection in The Ghostseer 1 : 

A superior power attends me. Omniscience surrounds me. 
An invisible Being whom I cannot escape, watches over my steps. 

Mrs. Radcliffe also may have been indebted to The Ghost- 
seer for Schedoni's crime the murder of his brother in 
order to marry the brother's wife. 

One other resemblance may be pointed out between the 
two works. The Sicilian's explanation of his tricks, after 
he has puzzled his audience with them, may suggest Mrs. 
Radcliffe's method of explaining the apparently supernat- 
ural. We could hardly give Schiller the credit of originat- 
ing her method, however, since she used it to some extent 
from the first. 

1 P. 386. 



64 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Another- question of comparison occurs in the consider- 
ation of The Italian. This is the question of its connection 
with The Monk of Matthew Gregory Lewis. 

Lewis made the statement in a letter to his mother 1 that 
it was the reading of The Mysteries of Udolpho, during his 
trip abroad, which gave,, him the inspiration to go on with 
the romance which he had begun. It seems possible that 
Lewis' novel had some reciprocal influence upon Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's work, at least to the extent of leading her to select a 
monk as her central figure. She had, it is true, made con- 
siderable use of religious machinery in her earlier books. 
In A Sicilian Romance Julia takes refuge in a convent, and 
so does Emily in The Mysteries of Udolpho. Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's attitude toward monastic life is interestingT as ail" 
artist she seems to have been fascinated by it ; as a human 
being, she was repelled. 

This mixture of feeling comes out in her comment on 
some of the English Lake scenery, where she is remarking 
on its resemblance to the Rhine : 

(Once too, there were other points of resemblance, in the ruins 
of monasteries and convents, which, though reason rejoices that 
they no longer exist, the eye may be allowed to regret.* 

In The Italian, however, the dominating power is the 
Church; and the figure of Schedoni sinister, mysterious, 
and apparently austere, but inwardly depraved is not unlike 
Lewis' conception of his Monk. In part this resemblance 
may be explained by the theory that both have a common 
source. A review of The Monk 3 suggests that the character 
of the wandering Jew, in Lewis' book, is 'copied as to its 
more prominent features from Schiller's incomprehensible 
Armenian/ The Armenian may also in some details have 
influenced Lewis' picture of his monk, and Mrs. Radcliffe's 

1 Life and Correspondence of M. G. Lewis I. 123. 

* Journey 2. 250. 

* Critical Review, N. Ar. 191 104. 



Work 65 

inspiration for Schedoni may have come directly from The 
Ghostseer, and not from Lewis at all. It would not seem 
unlikely, however, that, finding him successful with this 
theme, she resolved to try her hand at it. Lewis' book 
was probably the only one of the time which rivaled Mrs. 
Radcliffe's works in popularity. It made a considerable 
stir, in spite of the widespread condemnation of its morals. 
She might have thought it worth while to attempt a study 
in the same field, which should, however, not be open to the 
same objections on the score of morality. 

One passage in the Journey through Holland 1 seems to 
point toward The Italian. It suggests that Mrs. Radcliffe 
was not wholly indebted to other writers, but that her own 
impressions helped to shape the figure of Schedoni : 

Here two Capuchins, belonging probably to the convent above, 
as they walked along the shore, beneath the dark cliffs of Bop- 
part, wrapt in the long black drapery of their order, and their 
heads shrowded in cowls, that half concealed their faces, were 
interesting figures in a picture, always gloomily sublime. 

This recalls the scene in which Ellena, trying to escape 
from the house where she has been confined, meets the 
gloomy form of the monk on the sea-shore, and is followed 
by him until she is forced to return. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's travels came too late to influence her 
earlier books. The last, Cast on de Blondeville, seems to 
owe its inspiration almost entirely to one of her expeditions, 
her visit to Kenilworth in 1802. Several passages occur in 
her account of the trip which seem to contain suggestions 
of the story which she developed. One is in her description 
of Warwick Castle 2 : .' 

But what struck me most was near the end of the gallery 
(when it makes a sudden turn into the tower that terminates 
the castle), where appeared before me a broad, yet dark stair- 

X 2. 64. . 

" Memoir, p. 59. 



66 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

case of oak, and at the foot of it as if guarding the passage, a 
large figufe in complete armour, the beaver down, and a sword 
in its hand 1 The general twilight, with the last western gleam 
breaking through the painted wirdow at the foot of the stair- 
case, and touching the bronze, gave full effect to this scene, and 
heightened the obscurity of the stairs, in perspective. 

This figure, as she suddenly caught sight of it, probably 
had a ghostly effect, and might have suggested to her the 
spectre, dressed in the armor of a knight, which plays such a 
part in Gasion de Blondeville. Her interest in Kenilworth 
led her to study its past history with regrettable industry. 
Gaston de Blondeville is the one book in which she made a 
conscientious attempt to reproduce the life of the past, and 
the result is a wearisome minuteness of detail. 

One attempt to connect her literary work with her travels 
seems to take no account of times and seasons. Miss 
Seward, in a letter written February 4, 1796,* says: 

When speaking of Mrs. Radcliffe's Tour, I forgot to observe 
the probability that the impressions left on the author's imagin- 
ation, by the local vestiges at Hardwicke of the unfortunate 
Mary Stewart ; the bed and chairs, worked by her own fingers ; 
the little confessional, and prayer-book, all preserved exactly 
as she left them; that these objects suggested to Mrs. R. 
the idea of the marchioness's apartment in the Mysteries of 
Udolpho. I thought that scene much the finest and best 
imagined part of the novel. 

But, as has been said before, Mrs. Radcliffe made her 
tour of the Lakes in the summer of 1794, and The Mysteries 
of Udolpho had already been published in the spring of 
1794. The sight of the relics of Mary Queen of Scots 
could hardly have suggested the Marchioness* apartment, 
though the memory of her own imaginative conception 
might have increased her interest in this other deserted 
chamber. 

1 Letters 4. 151. 



Work 67 

Two general sources to which Mrs. Radcliffe is indebted 
may be mentioned briefly, though it has been my intention 
to confine the discussion to the more definite sources. One 
is the German literature which was becoming popular in 
England about the time she began writing ; the other is the 
Elizabethan. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's obligation to The Ghostseer has been 
mentioned. We know that she greatly admired The Rob- 
bers. Lord Woodhouselee's English translation of the 
latter appeared in 1792, and she was probably familiar with 
it before writing The Mysteries of Udolpho. Traces of its 
influence can be f Qund.in.liet.hero-villains, such as Montoni 
and Schedoni, who are in a sense outlaws; in her tendency 
toward strained aiid extravagant situations ; and in her sen- 
timentality. It must be said, however, that Mrs. Radcliffe 
never showed the confused sense of moral responsibility 
which characterized the German school. 

(Jhe Elizabethan influence is. even stronger. Not only 
do we find in the informal notes of Mrs. Radcliffe's journals 
references to Shakespeare which show an intimate knowl- 
edge of his plays, but in the novels scene after scene is* 
found which is evidently of Shakespearian inspiration. Sev- 
eral situations in The Mysteries of Udolpho recall Macbeth. 
Among these are the half-crazed ravings of the dying nun 1 ; 
the rising from the table m confusion, when Montoni V 
story is interrupted by the mysterious voice ; and the sound- 
ing of the portal-bell as Emily enters the castle. Another 
strong resemblance to Macbeth is found in The Italian, when 
Schedoni and the assassin Spalatro are disputing as to who 
shall murder Ellena, and the Confessor ends the matter 
with the words, 'Give me the dagger, then.' The influence 
of Hamlet seems discernible in the whole circumstance of 
the mysterious figure which is seen on the terrace outside 
of Emily's window. 2 The whole of Gaston de Blondeville 

1 Mysteries of Udolpho 4. 362. 
1 Ibid. 3. 73-4- 



68 



Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 



is built on the theme of Hamlet, and in the Introduction we 
have a direct reference to it in the remark that Warwick 
Castle has towers 'that would do honour to Hamlet/ 

Without going further into the consideration of parallel 
situations and parallel themes, one may say that Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's work shows plainly her admiration for Shakespeare 
and her familiarity with him, and also that in tendency and 
theme she suggests not only Shakespeare but the later Eliz- 
abethans, with their inclination toward the sensational and 
the gruesome. The fact that, just before Mrs. Radcliffe 
began writing, there had been a considerable revival of in- 
terest in Elizabethan plays, both on the stage and in publi- 
cation, makes this influence seem a very natural one. 1 

Section J. Translations and Dramatic Versions. 
In the account given of Mrs. Radcliffe in the Biographic 
Nouvelle des Contcmporains we have this statement : 

Les Romans d'Anne Radcliffe ont etc traduit dans presque 
toutes les langues de 1'Europe. 

A list of French translations follows : 

Les Chateaux de Dumblaine et d'Athlin, 1819. 
La Foret. ou I'Abbaye de Saint-Clair, 1798. 
Julia, ou les Souterrains du Chateau de Mazzini, 1801. 
Les Mysteres d' Udolphe (ce roman, souvent reimprimS, a 6t 
traduit en franc.ais, 4 vol. in- 12, 1794). 

1 Professor Thorndike, in chap. IX of his book on Tragedy, gives a 
list of thirteen old plays revived in the decade 1778-1788. An- 
other play which he does not mention is Ardeti of Feversham, 
which received its first performance in 1790. Between the years 
1708 and 1765, seven editions of Shakespeare's works were published. 
Editions of Massinger were brought out in 1759; 1761, and 1779. 
In 1744, Dodsley published twelve volumes- of Old Plays, and these 
were reprinted, with some changes, by Isaac Reed in 1780. In 
1773 another collection was published by Hawkins. An edition of 
Beaumont and Fletcher's plays was brought out in 1778. We also 
find evidence of the printing of individual plays: The Witch, by 
Middleton, was first published in 1778, and The Atheist's Tragedy of 
Tourneur was reprinted in 1792. 



Work 69 

Voyage fait dans Vet6 de 1794 en Holland e et sur la frontifrt 
d'Allemagne, avec des observations faites dans une tournee pres 
des lacs de Lancashire, Westmoreland, et Cumberland, 1795. 
Second edition, 1709. Translated by Cantwel. 

L'ltalien, ou le Confessional des Penitens noirs, translated by 
the Abbe Morellet. Several editions, 1795-1819. 

Eleonore de Rosalba, another translation of The Italian, by 
Mary Guy Allard. 

The Catalogue of the British Museum has the following 
list, varying somewhat from the one just given: 

Les Chateaux d'Athlin et de Dunbayne. Roman traduit de 
1'anglais . . . par 1'auteur des Memoires de Cromwell etc. 
2 torn. Paris, 1819. 

Cast on de Blondeville . . . Roman . . . traduit de 
1'anglais par le traducteur des romans de Sir W. Scott [A. J. B. 
Defauconpret]. 3 torn. Paris, 1826. 

Les Mysteres d'Udolphe . . . Traduit de 1'anglais sur la 
troisieme edition, par V. de Chastenay. 6 torn. Paris, 1808. 

French imitations of Mrs. Radcliffe's works are also 
given here : 

Barbarinski, ou les Brigands du chateau de Wissegrade. Imite 
de 1'anglais d'Anne Radcliffe. 2 torn. Paris, 1818, par Madame 
la Comtesse de Nardouet. 

Le Panache rouge, c-u le Spectre de Feu, Smite" de 1'anglais 
d'Anne Radcliff, par Madame la Comtesse de Nardouet 2 torn. 
Paris, 1824. 

Several Italian versions are also listed, and it is interesting 
to note that these are all late editions : 

GK Assassini di Ercolano. (Romanzo . . . traduzione del 
Francese [i. e. a French version of Mrs. Radcliffe's "Romance 
of 'the Forest."]. Edizione ricorretta e splendidamente illustrata. 
Milano, 1871. 

/ Sotteranei di Maszini . . . [An Italian Version of the 
"Sicilian Romance."] Con illustrazioni. Milano, 1883. 

Giulia ; o, i Sotteranei del Castello di Mazzini, etc. [A version 
of "A Sicilian Romance."] Milano, 1889. 

The Yale Library possesses a copy of a Spanish version 
of A Sicilian Romance, entitled Julia o Los Subterraneos del 
Castillo de Mazzini. 



70 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

Novela escrita en ingles par Mail de Radcliff. Traduicida 
del frances al castellano. Par I. M. P. Valencia, 1819. 

Mobius, in his dissertation on The Gothic Romance, gives 
a list of German translations : 

Die Nachtliche Erscheinung im Schlosse Mazzini, [A Sicilian 
Romance.] Hannover, 1792. Translated by D. M. Liebeskind. 

Adeline oder das Abenteuer im Walde. [Romance of the 
Forest.] Leipzig, Bohme, 1793. D. M. Liebeskind. 

Udolphos Gehtimnisse. Riga, Hartknoch, 1795. D. M. 
Liebeskind. 

Die Italienerin, oder der Beichtstuhl der Schwarzen Biissenden. 
Konigsberg, Nicolovius, 1797. D. M. Liebeskind. 

Ellena, die Jtalienerin, oder die Warnungen in den Ruinen von 
Paluzzi, 1801. 

The German translators of The Italian, it appears, did 
not realize that Schedoni was meant to be the dominant 
figure in the book, since in translating they made the word 
feminine, and so threw the emphasis upon Ellena and her 
sufferings. The mistake is a fairly good comment, how- 
ever, on the unsatisfactory nature of the title. There was 
no particular point in giving to one figure the title of The 
Italian, when all the personages of the story were supposed 
to be of that nationality, 

doulrtmany other translations exist which do not 

of which we have 



record give testimony to the popularity of Mrs?a7!cliffe in 
othejr. cpunfrles than her ownr 

Besides the FFelicTrT6niances"%ritten in imitation of her, 
there appears in the British Museum Catalogue one dramatic 
work. 

Le Chateau des Apennins ou le Fantome Vivant, drame en 
cinq actes, en prose. I mite du roman Anglais, les Mysteres 
d'Udolphe [of Anne Radcliffe, by R. C. Guilbert de Pixere- 
court] Paris, 1799. 

English dramatists did notjieglectjthe opportimjty_ which 
Mrs7T?adcin??s~^Yorks gave for stage-thrills. Hfir_sl0ries_ 



Work 71 

were quite in accord with the theatrical fashions of the day, ) 
especially with the German influence, which, beginning with j 
The Robbers, culminated in the 'Kotzebue-mania.' They \ 
offered sentiment, as well as spectacular scenes, and her \ 
use of suspense made her books particularly suitable for 
^dramatization. 

A Sicilian Romance was dramatized by Henry Siddons, 
son of the great actress, and was first performed at Covent 
Garden, May 28, 1794. The consensus of opinion seems 
to have been that the play was decidedly inferior to the 
novel. Genest says of }t: 

This Op. in 3 short acts was written by Henry Siddons. 
. . . It is founded on Mrs. Radcliffe's Romance of the same 
name, . . . The Romance is interesting, . . . but H. 
Siddons has dramatized it most vilely.* 

Comments upon the play, not particularly enthusiastic, 
appear in the European Magazine* and the Critical Review.* 

Not much more praise was given to the dramatization of 
The Romance of the Forest, by James Boaden. This play, 
under the title of Fontainville Forest, was first acted at 
Covent Garden, March 25, 1794. Genest's comment is: 

This is a moderate play by Boaden. . . . The plot is pro- 
fessedly borrowed from the Romance of the Forest ... 
The last scene of the 3'd act is rendered contemptible by the in- 
troduction of a Phantom. 

A later entry, Jan. 8, 1796, mentions the performance of the 
play, 'compressed into 4 acts by the author.' Reviews of the 
play appear in the European Magazine* in the Critical 
Review? in the English Review? and in the British Critic." 1 

1 History of the English Stage. C. G. May 28, 1794. 

25.467. 

' N. Ar. 13. 338. March, 1795. 

4 25. 308. 

*N. Ar. ii. 409. 

23.455. 

'4. 186. 



72 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

.We should have expected The Mysteries of Udolpho, 
from its popularity and the dramatic quality of its situations, 
to receive effective treatment on the stage ; but the only 
play which seems to have any connection with it owed little 
to the novel, and did not meet with great success. This was 
The Mysteries of the Castle, by Miles Peter Andrews, pre- 
sented at Covent Garden, January 31, 1795. The European 
Magazine* says of it : 

In this drama it was expected that The Mysteries of Udolpho* 
would have furnished the principal part of the plot. The name 
of Montoni only is taken from thence, but the character exhibits 
few of the daring, bold qualities of that fierce assassin. 
Although nothing else is taken from Udolpho, Mr. Andrews has 
availed himself of a striking incident in The Sicilian Romance' 
of the same Author, which forms the tragic part of this absurd 
mixture of tragedy, comedy, farce, opera, and pantomime. 

The Critical Review* remarks : 

It is one of those pieces which must depend on song and 
scenery. The story is partly taken from Mrs. Radcliffe's excel- 
lent romance; but we fear that lady will not feel herself 
flattered by the relationship. 

Mr. Boaden tried his hand at a dramatization of The 
Italian, in The Italian Monk, acted at the Haymarket, 
August 15, 1797. The reviews of this play are for the most 
part less favorable than those of Fontainville Forest. The 
comment of Genest upon it is : 

This play in 3 acts is Mrs. Radcliffe's interesting Romance 

badly dramatized by Boaden. ... It is written partly in 

blank verse and partly in prose. . . . It would' have been 
better if the whole had been in prose. 

A scathing review appeared in The Monthly Visitor for 
August, I797- 3 In this, The Italian Monk is considered as 
a sort of parody on The Italian. Mr. Boaden is blamed for 

'27. 124. 

*N. Ar. 14. iox. 

9 2. 157. 



Work 73 

changing the characters, and for introducing needless buf- 
foonery. His only successful passages, according to this 
writer, are those in which he keeps very close to Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's own words. 

Certainly the songs, quoted in some of the reviews, and 
published separately in the Lady's Magazine for September, 
I797, 1 are not at all in keeping with the sombre tone of Mrs. 
Radcliffe's book. One of them is sung by Fioresca, a char- 
acter created by Mr. Boaden, to make a sweetheart for 
Paullo, the (supposedly) humorous servant : i- 

Other maidens bait their hooks ,; 
With practis'd glances, tender looks, 
And study tricks from subtle books, 
To hold the lover fast. 
Their golden line of locks so fine 
Before his simple eye they cast, 
With bending bait, and swimming gait, 
To make him sure at last. 

Nonny, nonny, nonnino, 

Nonny, nonny, nonnino, 

Nonny, nonny, nonnino 

To make him sure at last. 

When the village youth would bear 

Me trinkets from the distant fair, . 

However they were rich or rare, 

My Paullo pleased me best: 
What though, the work of costly art, 
They call'd for praise in ev'ry part ? 
My Paullo with it gave his heart ; 
And what was all the rest, 
Nonny, nonny, etc. 
And what was all the rest? 

Mr. Boaden also changed the character of Schedoni, and 
the whole climax of the plot. Instead of having actually 
murdered his brother, the monk merely thinks he has 
murdered his wife. In the end he discovers his mistake, 

'28.424. 



74 



Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 



and is happily reunited to her, instead of dying in agony, 
as in Mrs. Radcliffe's version. 

On the whole, The Italian Monk seems to have been quite 
in the fashion of the day. It was much the sort of thing 
which Lewis did in The Castle Spectre, a hash of melo- 
drama and absurdity, with here and there a touch of flip- 
pancy, showing that the author himself did not take it very 
seriously. It surely is not an adequate dramatization of 
The Italian, a book which contains material for an excellent 
melodrama, or even, perhaps, if correctly managed, a gen- 
uine tragedy. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's last romance was dramatized, but appar- 
ently never produced. The play Gaston de Blondeville is 
published in the Dramatic Works of Mary Russell Mitford. 
In the introduction to the 1854 edition 1 the author makes 
the statement : 

'Sadak and Kalasrade' was written to gratify a young musician, 
and 'Gaston de Blondeville' because I thought, and still think, 
that the story, taken from Mrs. Radcliffe's posthumous romance, 
would be very effective as mere spectacle a play to look at 
upon the stage. 

In one of her letters 2 Miss Mitford wrote : 

William Harness has been most unexpectedly struck with 
'Gaston de Blondeville.' . . . The book from which it was 
taken had no story, so that, except the real ghost, and the 
first hint of the supernatural pageants, it is really my own. 
William declares that it made his blood run cold. ;< 

Miss Mitford here seems hardly fair to her source. Her 
list of characters is practically the same as Mrs. Radcliffe's, 
and the play follows closely the sequence of events in the 
romance. Hugh Woodreeve, the merchant, accuses the 
king's favorite of robbery and murder. The merchant is 
imprisoned in the tower, and preparations go on for the 
bridal of Gaston, the favorite, with the daughter of the Earl 

1 P. XXXI. 

* Letters and Life 2. 219. 



Work 75 

of Huntingdon. The bridal is interrupted by the appearance 
of the ghost. The scene of the banquet, with the supernat- 
ural pageants, is the same. The merchant is condemned to 
be tried for witchcraft. He summons Gaston to the wager 
of battle. Then comes the principal change in the story. 
Miss Mitford has introduced a new character, Albert, the 
page, and there has been hint of a love-affair between him 
and Gaston's destined bride. When Woodreeve is in need 
of a champion, Albert appears with a scroll proving that he 
is the son of Sir Reginald de Tolville, whose ghost has been 
demanding vengeance. He fights with Gaston, and, being 
young and inexperienced, is about to be overcome, when the 
ghost appears. Gaston falls, dropping his sword, and Albert 
kills him. 

It is true that the introduction of Albert supplies more 
plot-interest. But in view of all that she took from Mrs. 
Radcliffe, Miss Mitford does not really seem justified in 
saying that the story was entirely her own. In some re- 
spects, however, the play has the advantage of the novel. 
As some of the critics remarked, the plot of Gaston de 
Blondeville had hardly enough complication and incident to 
make a complete novel. It does better in the compression of 
dramatic form. Then, too, of necessity the ghost must make 
fewer appearances, and this makes him more effective. 

On the whole, the dramatizations of Mrs. Radcliffe's 
stories seem to have had small value of their own. They 
are chiefly interesting because they furnish some additional 
testimony to her popularity. It must be said, too, that they 
emphasize the weaker side of her work, the side which was 
in harmony with the melodramatic stage-fashions of the day. 
The faults of the novels become more glaring in the plays. 
When the drama is in the condition it had reached in the 
last decade of the eighteenth century, a novel, in taking to 
the stage, must say goodbye to any artistic unity. Shake- 
speare's plays, it is true", still held their place, and there had 
recently been some revival of interest in minor Elizabethans. 



76 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

But the German influx had begun. Monk Lewis and other 
translators and adaptors were giving the public a full portion 
of what it seemed to want sensation and sentimentality. 
No wonder that any novel which had a supply of these de- 
sirable qualities was eagerly seized upon, and too often used 
unscrupulously: 

A comment quite to the point was made in the European 
Magazine for March, 1799,* in an article entitled Instance of 
Posthumous Friendship, with a hint to the Dr&matizers of 
Romances. 

It is related of the gypsies, that they commit depredations 
upon the poultry of those who reside in distant parts of the 
country, while they carefully abstain from attacks on their 
immediate neighbors. Such should be the policy of the Romance 
clippers of the present day. A young gentleman or young 
lady (probably the latter) sits down to write a romance; good. 
The romance happens to have an extensive sale; good again. 
A certain dramatic Author, with more cunning than genius, lays 
his unmerciful hands upon the book, melts it down in his scenic 
crucible, and vends it as his own. . 

By such unfair proceedings, the original Author or Authoress 
is reduced to an unfortunate dilemma; if the play succeeds, it 
runs away with all the popularity; if it fails, the failure casts a 
shade of ridicule and disgrace on the romance. Thus has it 
fared with many a writer's effusions, and particularly with those 
natural, moral, and meritorious productions, Caleb Williams, 
The Italian, and The Monk; whose fairest flowers are withered 
by the dulness of The Iron Chest, The Italian Monk, and Aurelio 
and Miranda. 

We may not wholly agree with this writer when he calls 
a book like Lewis' Monk 'natural, moral, and meritorious/ 
but when he speaks of the 'depredations' of the playwrights, 
he is probably characterizing pretty aptly a tendency of the 
time. 

: 1 3S. 161. 



CHAPTER III 

CONTRIBUTION TO THE NOVEL 

Most critics who have given any attention to Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe as a novelist have decided that she is important chiefly 
for her use of the. supernatural, and for her emphasis upon 
landscape. Although she is, indeed, a pioneer in both these 
fields, it has seemed to me that, after all, her most important 
contribution is a matter not of theme, but of structure. 

Dibelius attributes Mrs. Radcliffe's methods almost en- 
tirely to the influence of Fielding and Richardson, assisted 
by the French romances. 1 He works out an elaborate par- 
allel between the technique of Fielding and that of the 'new 
romances' as originated by Walpole and perfected by Mrs. 
Radcliffe. 

Professor Cross, in his History of Henry Fielding, speaks 
of both Richardson and Fielding as adopting a dramatic 
structure in their stories. 'From the structural point of 
view, 1 he says, 'this dramatic manner was the novelty that 
Richardson at a stroke brought into fiction/ 2 And in re- 
lation to Fielding ' Being a dramatist, Fielding could not 
conceive of a novel without an elaborate plot. . . ;,' 
Upon his plot, too, he depended for keeping his readers alert 
through six volumes.' 3 

It is true that both Richardson and Fielding departed 
considerably from the simple picaresque method of Defoe 
and Smollett. Most of the incidents of their stories had 
their part in the working out of a definitely conceived plan. 
But this plan was not, after all, the most important part of 
the work. Professor Cross suggests a different point of 

l Englische Romankunst I. 287-8. 
2. 158. 
2. 160. 



78 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

view when he says, ' "Tom Jones" . . . was to be the ful- 
filment of that earlier design of a comic epic such as Homer 
might have written.' 1 And Fielding suggests it himself 
when, in the first chapter of Tom Jones, he says that the 
provision he has made for his readers is human nature. 

Tom Jones develops the picaresque form into an epic, in' 
which the hero and hi's adventures show us the men and 
manners of a whole period. Fielding does, it is true, experi- 
ment with the dramatic structure, but only as an additional 
interest, not as an aim in itself. When Dibelius speaks of. 
misleading the reader as part of Fielding's technique, 2 it 
seems to me that he stresses the point too much. We never 
feel convinced that Tom is the son of Jenny Jones; we 
know that the suggestion is only a cloak to conceal his real 
parentage. And when Fielding pretends to be afraid that 
he cannot rescue Tom from his calamities, 3 we understand 
that it is mere pretense, and that within a few chapters a 
happy marriage is due. The interesting thing is the process 
by which this end is achieved. Tom's reaction upon his 
surroundings, and the comprehensive picture of English. life 
which the book gives, hold the reader, in my opinion, more 
than the working out of the plot. Professor Cross himself 
admits that Fielding's method is, .in general, epic rather 
than dramatic, when he says, 'Perhaps Fielding did all that 
could be done in adapting the structure of the Odyssey to a 
novel, but the form at best remains awkward.'* 

In Richardson's novels, again, we are not so much in- 
terested in what is going to happen as in how it happens, 
and in his case the how is a matter of human character. 
The people who read Clarissa Harlowe, and begged the 
author not to let Clarissa die, did not care whether the end- 
ing was a logical development of circumstances ; they were 

1 2. 160. 
' I. 122. 

9 Tom Jones 3. 247. 

4 2. 327. 



Contribution to the Novel 



79 



interested in the ending because they were interested in 
Clarissa. 

In none of these novelists, then, do we find the main in- ~\ 
tefest in plot. Character, manners, adventure in and for 1 
itself, not necessarily contributing toward the final climax 1 
these are emphasized in the work of Defoe, Richardson, I 
Fielding, and Smollett. 

. It is not until we reach Walpole that we have a definite 
attempt to found the novel upon the technique of the drama. 
In his preface to the first edition of The Castle of Otranto, 
Walpole says, 'The rules of the drama are almost observed 
throughout the piece.' In the preface to the second edition 
he defends his inclusion of comic characters by the example 
of Shakespeare, who, he says, 'in his deepest tragedies, 
has introduced the coarse humor of grave-diggers and 
clumsy jests of the Roman citizens/ This, by the way, 
seems to oppose Dibelius' theory that the servant as intro- 
duced in Mrs. Radcliffe's novels and in The Cattle of 
Otranto is imitated from Sancho Panza. 1 Not phly.was Mrs. 
Radcliffe, in copying Walpole's talkative servants, carrying 
on a Shakespearian inspiration, but she may have gone 
directly to Shakespeare herself for some of her minor 
characters, Her garrulous old women, like Dorothee and 
Teresa in The Mysteries of Udolpho, might easily have been 
suggested by Juliet 's nurse. 

Walpole's attempt at dramatic structure was a feeble at- 
tempt enough, but it contained the essential elements of 
the method which Mrs. Radcliffe was to carry to a much 
higher development. His aim was to excite the curiosity of 
the reader, and keep him waiting for the final denouement. 

To a modern reader, however, the whole thing is so absurdly 
\ improbable that it excites no curiosity at all, and the climax 
\ is a matter of indifference. 

is founded uponhe principle 



* 1. 297- 




8o Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

which Walpdle tried with imperfect success to embody in 
his work the principle of suspense; and it is to this 
method, probably,' that she owed not only her immediate 
popularity, but much of her importance, in literary history. 
The essentially dramatic quality of her stories is shown by 
the fact which I have already pointed out, that all but one 
were dramatized, and most of the resulting plays were suc- 
cessfully performed. It is interesting to notice that her 
handling of this element of suspense grows more skilful in 
each successive book, excepting, perhaps, Gaston de Blonde- 
vllle, which was an experiment in a new field. It may be 
worth while to make a very brief survey of the different 
plots from this point of view. 

In The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, Malcolm has slain 
the Earl of Athlin. The Earl's widow survives him, with 
two children, Osbert and Mary. Osbert, while wandering 
about the country, is entertained in a peasant's cottage, and 
a young peasant, Alleyn, guides him home. A festival is 
held at the castle, and Alleyn wins first place in the games. 
As a reward, he .is permitted to dance with Mary, and at 
once falls in love with her. Osbert, wishing to avenge his 
father, summons- the clan for an attack on the Castle of 
Dunbayne. They succeed in getting inside the castle, but 
find that Malcolm has been warned by spies, and has armed 
men ready to seize them. Osbert and Alleyn are both im- 
prisoned, but Alleyn escapes just in time to save Mary, who 
is being carried off by Malcolm's horsemen. He leads the 
clan in an attempt to rescue Osbert. Malcolm brings Osbert 
to the ramparts, and tells the besiegers that the moment of 
attack is the moment of Osbert's death. The only ransom 
he will accept is the gift of Mary as his wife. Mary is 
ready to consent in order to save her brother, although she 
loves Alleyn. Alleyn finally succeeds in getting one of the 
soldiers on guard to help Osbert escape. Meanwhile, 
Osbert: has become acquainted with the widow and daughter 
of Malcolm's brother, who have been defrauded of their 



Contribution to the Novel 81 

property, and are kept imprisoned in the castle. A relative 
of theirs, the Count de Santmorin, is received at the Castle 
of Athlin after Osbert's return, and asks for Mary's hand, 
but she is unwilling to receive him as a suitor. Malcolm 
besieges the castle, and is mortally wounded by Osbert. 
After he has been taken back to his own castle, he confesses 
to the Baroness that her son did not die, but was en- 
trusted to some peasants. In the meantime, there has been 
a second attempt to carry off Mary, this time by the Count. 
She is again rescued by Alleyn, and they go on to the Castle 
of Dunbayne, where Osbert and Laura, the daughter of the 
Baroness, were about to be married when Mary's disap- 
pearance caused delay. The Baroness immediately recog- 
nizes Alleyn as her son by his resemblance to his father, 
and confirms her recognition by finding the strawberry- 
mark on his arm. A double wedding is celebrated Osbert 
and Laura, Alleyn and Mary. 

It will be clear from this brief rcsumt that only rather 
ordinary means of suspense are employed here, as in the 
case of Mary's two abductions, with the opportune rescue. 
The most striking instance is the scene in which Osbert is 
brought to the ramparts, and his clansmen are warned that 
if they attack, his life is lost. It is evident, of course, when 
Alleyn falls in love with Mary, that something must be done 
to prove him of noble birth, and as soon as we find out that 
the Baroness has had a son, the ending is clear. 

A Sicilian Romance shows a decided advance in plot- 
making. In fact, it may be said that there is too much plot : 
the events follow each other with the rapidity of a moving 
picture. The very first part of the story shows the use of 
suspense in exciting the reader's curiosity. The Marquis 
of Mazzini has been married a second time, to a very beauti- 
ful and pleasure-loving woman. Madame de Menon, a 
friend of his first wife, has charge of the education of his 
two daughters. The southern wing of the castle has been 
closed for years, but a mysterious light has been seen there, 



82 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

which has aroused the anxiety of Madame de Menon and the 
superstition of the servants. One of the servants, Vincent, 
on his death-bed tries to tell -the secret, and does confess to 
the priest, but dies before he can tell Madame de Menon. 
Ferdinand, the son of the marquis, comes of age, and there 
is a great party to celebrate his majority. The marchioness 
is jealous because Hippolitus, Count de Vereza, whom she 
admires, prefers Julia. He leaves unexpectedly. Julia 
and Emilia are obliged to give up their rooms to the mar- 
chioness, and are put into rooms adjoining the southern 
wing. Here they are frightened .by strange noises, and tell 
Ferdinand, who explores the wing, but finds nothing, Hip- 
politus returns, and declares his love for Julia, but the 
marquis insists that she shall marry the Duke de Luovo. 
Ferdinand and Hippolitus plan an elopement, but it is pre- 
vented, and Julia is imprisoned. Her maid helps her to 
escape. The Duke searches for her in vain. Madame de 
Menon leaves the castle, finds Julia, and takes her to the 
monastery of St. Augustine, to the protection of the church. 
From this point, the story is a series of escapes and dis- 
coveries. Julia is about to become a nun, to avoid being 
given back to her father, when Ferdinand comes and tells 
her that Hippolitus is not dead, as she has heard. They 
leave the monastery, and reach a ship which is to take them 
to Italy, but are shipwrecked. They take refuge in a villa. 
Meanwhile Hippolitus has come in search of Julia, and finds 
that she has left the monastery. He loses, his way, and 
arrives at a ruin, where he finds a crowd of banditti, with 
a man who seems to be dying. In fleeing from the banditti, 
he reaches a chamber where he finds Julia. Some officers 
come to their aid, but more banditti arrive, and overpower 
them. Julia and Hippolitus escape. They are pursued by 
the Duke and his followers ; Julia leaves Hippolitus resisting 
them, and runs into a cavern. She goes through a floor and 
closes it, wanders on until she reaches another door, and 
unbolts it. Through this she enters a room, and finds a 



Contribution to the Novel 83 

woman who greets her as a daughter. She has reached 
the southern wing of the castle, and the secret is revealed. 
The marquis shut his first wife up here, because he wished 
to marry another woman, and here he has kept her all these 
years. Julia remains with her mother, going out into the 
passage whenever the marqu-s comes with food. He re- 
solves to kill his wife, because he wants to put the proof of 
his guilt out of the way. He puts poison in the food he 
brings to hef, but on that very day Hippolitus has traced 
Julia to her mother's chamber, and they make their escape 
just after the marquis* visit. The marquis, on returning to 
his room, feels dizzy and faint, and a servant finds him in 
agony. Ferdinand runs to the room of his stepmother, and 
finds her stabbed by her own hand. A letter beside her tells 
the marquis she has poisoned him. The marquis, before he 
dies, tells Ferdinand about his mother. Julia and Hippolitus 
are married, and the family is happily united. 

It is easy to see the opportunity for suspense in the var- 
ious wanderings and reunions. Some good examples are 
found in Julia's flight. Madame De Menon, when she starts 
out, does not find Julia in the cottage where she had expected 
to take refuge, and it seems for a time that the plan has mis- 
carried. Again, Julia thinks she is pursued by the Duke, 
but finds that her pursuer is a man who is trying to recover 
his daughter. The same situation occurs when the Duke 
thinks he has found Julia, and discovers that he has been 
following the wrong couple. The most striking example 
of suspense, however, is Vincent's attempt to tell the secret, 
and his dying before he can reveal it. The reader does not 
discover the truth until far along in the story, when Julia 
comes upon her mother in the secret chamber. 

The Romance of the Forest has more simplicity of plot, 
and better treatment of suspense as a means of arousing 
interest. At the very first our curiosity is excited, when 
La Motte, inquiring his way at the cottage in the woods, is 
asked to take away a beautiful and distressed girl. When 



A 



84 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

they come to the ruined abbey, and decide to stay there, we 
are constantly kept in suspense as to whether their hiding- 
place will be discovered. The peculiar behavior of La 
Motte, when he first sees the Marquis of Montalt, shows 
that there is some dark secret between them. When Theo- 
dore, after rescuing Adeline from the marquis' villa, wounds 
the marquis, and is arrested, we fear evil consequences. 
Another moment of suspense comes when Adeline has been 
given once more into the charge of La Motte in the abbey, 
and the marquis, after seeing a note which Adeline has 
written to Theodore, orders La Motte to kill her. Again, 
Theodore is about to be executed when Louis La Motte 
hears of accusations which have been made against the 
marquis, and has the execution delayed. It develops that 
Adeline is the daughter of the marquis' brother, whom he 
has murdered in order to get the property. He discovered' 
her identity by her mother's seal on the letter she had writ- 
ten, and had intended to have her put out of the way also. 
A characteristic use of suspense in this story is found where 
Adeline is obliged to stop reading at an exciting point in 
the manuscript, because her light goes out. Another time 
of anxiety is at the apparent discovery of La Motte's hid- 
ing-place, when the intruder turns out to be his own son. 
^Jlh^__Mystric^ of JLLdolfrluLJs full of,.compHeatiojis and 
unexpected turns, but the main story earn- be told in few 
words. Emily St. Aubert and her father; after Madame 
St. Aubert's death, set out on a journey. They meet Val- 
ancourt, who falls in love with Emily. During the journey 
St. Aubert dies, leaving Emily to the care of her aunt. 
This aunt, after some encouragement oL,Ya]ancoiirt, for- 
bids the marriage, and herself marries Montoni, an Italian. 
They take Emily to Venice, and afterward to Montoni's 
castle, Udolpho, in the Apennines. The. rest .of. the story 
narrates Emily's adventures in the castle, her escape, her 
reception in the Chateau de Villefort, and her final union 
with Valancourt. It would be superfluous to mention all 



. Contribution to the Novel 85 

the places in this story where Mrs. Radcliffe makes use of 
suspense. " Before they leave home, Emily sees her father 
looking intently at a miniature which she knows is not a 
picture of her mother. When he is dying, he asks her to 
burn certain papers without looking at them. In burning 
them,, she notices involuntarily two lines of writing which 
make a terrible impression upon her. She is tempted to 
read on, but obeys her father's request. Her curiosity re- 
mains unsatisfied, and the reader's is still more so, for he 
has not even seen the two lines. The most famous incident 
in the story is that of the black veil. Emily has been told 
of a mysterious picture, concealed behind a black curtain. 
Coming upon it by accident, she is urged by curiosity to lift 
s the curtain. She falls senseless to the floor, and. it is not 
until the end of the book that we find out what she has seen. 
Another scene almost as hair-raising is the visit of Emily 
and Dorothee to the room of the dead marchioness, when 
the black pall on the bed begins slowly to rise, and Emily is 
sure that she sees peering from beneath it a human face. 
The disappearance of Ludovico from this same room is 
another good example of suspense; it is not until after 
many pages that we get the explanation a band of smug- 
glers has been using that wing of the chateau as a hiding- 
place for stolen goods, and they have carried off Ludovico 
to encourage the belief that the rooms are haunted. The 
wholq book is a study in suspense; we art interested not 
so much in the adventures themselves as in the outcome of 
the adventures, the explanation of the mysteries. 

The Italian has perhaps the most dramatic plot of all. 
In its essential theme it. is rather hackneyed, for it is the 
old story of true love which does not run smooth. Vin- . 
centio di Vivaldi has seen Ellena Rosalba at church, and has 
fallen in love with her. He forms an acquaintance with 
her and her aunt, and visits them at their villa. His father 
and mother, however, object to the connection. The monk, 
Schedoni, conspires with. Vivaldi's mother, the Marchesa, 



86 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

to get Ellena out of the way. She is first taken to a con- 
vent, but Vivaldi finds her, and effects her escape. They 
are about to be married, when they are arrested in the name 
of the Inquisition. Vivaldi is imprisoned at Rome; Ellena 
is taken to a lonely house on the sea-shore, where occurs 
the scene mentioned before that in which Schedoni, about 
to kill her, recognizes his own picture about her neck, and 
thinks that she is his daughter. At the end of the book, 
Schedoni poisons both himself and the monk who has be- 
trayed him. Ellena finds her mother in the nun who has 
befriended her; she learns that, she is the niece, not the 
daughter, of Schedoni; and she and Vivaldi are happily 
married. 

Suspense is a powerful element in the story. Vivaldi, 
in his visits to Ellena's villa, meets by the ruined fort a 
mysterious monk who warns him not to go on. The appear- 
ances and disappearances of this monk excite our curiosity, 
especially when Vivaldi follows him into the ruin, and we 
are not told what he has found. When Vivaldi and Paulo 
visit the place together, Vivaldi tells Paulo to pause and 
consider whether he can depend upon his courage, for it may 
be severely tried. This, again, arouses wonder as to what 
Vivaldi has discovered. The whole incident of Vivaldi's 
visit to the convent in disguise and his rescue of Ellena 
keeps us constantly in suspense as to the outcome. In the 
house of the assassin, Ellena's fate trembles in the balance. 
In the Inquisition-scenes our attention is held by the mys- 
terious voice which speaks to Vivaldi in his cell, and which 
afterwards accuses Schedoni ; we can easily believe that 'the 
silence of expectation rapt the court.' 

One way in which Mrs. RadclifTe reinforces this element 
oLsjuspjensels by tfie use of muslcfor dramatic effect. She 
was, aswe : Tiave""seen, very~Tond^6f music, and nT~all her 
stories she introduces it freely. Her heroines, in gazing at 
a beautiful landscape, are almost as sure to hear sweet music 
as they are to compose poetry. But it is not used merely 



Contribution to the Novel 87 

to enforce description; it has often a more distinct aim. 
A striking example is the scene in The Italian, where Sche- 
doni and the Marchesa are planning Ellena's death : 

'Aye/ muttered the Confessor, still musing, 'in a chamber of 
that house there is ' 

.'What noise is that?" said the Marchesa, interrupting him. 
They listened. A few low and querulous notes of the organ 
sounded at a distance, and stopped again. 

'What mournful music is that?' enquired the Marchesa in a 
tremulous voice. 'It was touched by a fearful hand 1 Vespers 
were over long ago!' 

'Daughter, 1 observed Schedoni, some ./hat sternly, 'you said you 
had a man's courage. Alas i you have a woman's heart* 

'Excuse me, father ; I know not why I feel this agitation, but 
I will command it. That chamber?' . . . 

'A passage leads to the sea/ continued Schedoni. . , .";" 
'There, on the shore, when darkness covers it; there, plunged 
amidst the waves, no stain shall hint of 

'Hark !' interrupted the Marchesa, starting, 'that note again !' 

The organ sounded faintly from the choir, and paused, as be- 
fore. In the next moment, a slow chaunting of voices was 
heard, mingling with the rising peal, in a strain particularly 
melancholy and solemn. 

'Who is dead?' said the Marchesa, changing countenance; 'it 
is a requiem !' 

Here the music has a direct dramatic relation to the action, 
in its working upon a guilty soul. 

Similar examples, where music plays a part in the course 
of the narrative, are found in the earlier novels. In The 
Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, Osbert is confined in the 
castle of his enemy when 'the soft notes of a lute surprised 
his attention/ Through this he is led to discover the pres- 
ence in the castle of the two ladies, one of whom immediately 
inspires his love. 

/\ In The Romance of the Forest, Adeline is recalled from 
melancholy and despair to hopefulness by strains of music 
which, by changing her mood, seem to hint at the happy 
outcome of her troubles. Tke^Mysteries of Udolpho makes 



83 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

constant use of music to help in maintaining suspense. Per- 
haps the most dramatic instance is the scene in which Emily 
and the old servant, Dorothee, visit the chamber of the dead 
marchioness : 

'I will only tell what happened. My lord, the Marquis ' 

'Hush, Dorothee, what sounds were those?' said Emily. 
Dorothee changed countenance, and, while they both listened, 

they heard, on the stillness of the night, music of uncommon 

sweetness. 

~*~~ 
Dibelius speaks of the tendency to emphasize individual) 

scenes as a characteristic which distingoiishes_Mrs. Rad-/ 
cliffe's method from that of Fielding and ^nolietT) This, 
it seems to me, is proof that her style is more-oistinctly 
dramatic. In thinking of one of Mrs. Radcliffe's storiesN 
as in thinking of a play, one is inclined to remember striking ! ^ 
scenes rather Jiian a continuous^narrative. Especially is? 
true_in^jr/tg Mysteries of Udolpho and Ttie~~ltalian. 



Certain definite pictures stand out Madame Montoni's 
burial ; the duel of Montoni and the Count ; the visit of 
Emily and Dorothee to the marchioness* apartment ; the 
scene in the bandits' cave ; Ellena, aroused from sleep in 
her gloomy chamber to find Schedoni bending over her ; 
Ellena and Vivaldi standing before the priest ready for the 
marriage ceremony, rudely interrupted by the band of < 
ruffians. 

In this matter of structure, one can hardly deny that Mrs. 
Radcliffe made a contribution which was distinctive and 
important. Her deliberate use of suspense as an artistic 
principle is something entirely different from the method of 
Richardson and Fielding in shaping the incidents of their 
stories to fit into a general plan. Just how far her method 
affected later writers is a question which it would be diffi- 
cult to answer conclusively. Scott had a strong feeling for 
the individual scene, and we know that in many ways he 
was influenced by Mrs. Radcliffe's work. The grej.t novels 
of the nineteenth century show a combination of the picar- 



Contribution to the Novel 89 

esque and the dramatic methods, with the emphasis, prob- 
ably, upon the latter. The short stories, from Poe down 
to the latest attempjgjin^)iir_inaga2ines r ar<Tf rmnlfeH" upon 
the principle of suspense ; and the modern detective story, 
with its elaborate niystification^jyidjte^ 
solution, no doubt owes much to Mrs, Radcjjffe's jnethods. 
She gave a new emphasis to action not action in and for 
itself, as in the picaresque novel, but action as bringing 
about complications, and resolving them. 

It seems hardly fair, then, to think of the 'Gothic* novel 
as a mere side-issue in the development of the type a 'blind 
alley' leading nowhere. Walpole, with his clumsy begin- 
nings, and Mrs. Radcliffe, with the perfected method, 
added something to the plot as Richardson and Fielding had 
conceived it, and so had their direct share in the develop- 
ment of the novel. 

Mrs. Radcliffe's influence upon the subject-matter of the 



upon its structure. Without going into detail upon . this 
Question, we mav briefly recall the general character of her 
contribution. Scott says of her that she appeals 'to those \ 
powerful and general sources of interest, a latent sense of ./ 
supernatural awe, and curiosity concerning whatever is/ 
hidden and mysterious.' / 

In this appeal Scott himself followed her. Certain of his 
novels, like Woodstock and Anne of Geierstein, remind us 
of Mrs. Radcliffe not only in subject-matter, but in treat- 
ment. 'Gothic' themes persisted in the literature of the 
first half of the nineteenth century. Mrs. Shelley, in 
Frankenstein, produced a tale of terror which carried the 
supernatural into the pseudo-scientific. Maturin's Melmoth 
the Wanderer makes striking use of physical immortality as 
a means of spiritual torture. For stories of mystery we 
have Bulwer's Zanoni and Godwin's St. Leon. Crime be- 
comes an important element in novels like Bulwer's Eugene 
Aram, Godwin's Caleb Williams, and Ainsworth's Rook- 



90 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

ivood and Jack Sheppard. This tendency to picture the life 
and character of criminals is shown later in Dickens, and in 
the vivid representation of outlaw-life which we find in 
Lorna Doonc.- And the climax of Gothicism, with its appeal 
to the 'sense of supernatural awe and curiosity concerning 
whatever is hidden and mysterious,' came in the middle of 
the century with Emily Bronte's Withering Heights. 

In America the influence_is qmte._as striking,- Charles 
Brockden Brown shows perhaps most directly and unmis- 
takably the res'emblance to Mrs. Radcliffe. Hawthorne, and 
Poe are to a considerable- extent 'Gothic' in their treatment 
of the supernatural and tiiejiiysterious. Poe also resembles 
Mrs. Radcliffe in the fact that his chief aim seems to be to 
produce in his reader a certain emotional effect, and in his 
method of exciting interest by suspense. 

We may say, then, that Mis. Radcliffe's contribution to 
the nineteenth-century novel was not only a matter of , 
structure, but a certain more indefinite spirit the spirit off 
curiosity and awe before the mystery of things. As ml 
structure her method of dramatic suspense was combined, 
with the picaresque type which had preceded it, so in theme 
this new romantic spirit blended with the other spirit of 
realism and satire that the earlier and greater novelists had 
introduced. Dickens is following, part of the time, in trie: 
footsteps of realists like Fielding and Smollett. But when, 
in Great Expectations, we see Miss Havisham by her dusty 
dressing-table, on which lies the satin slipper turned yellow 
with age, or gaze at the banqueting-table with the wedding- 
cake mouldering in the centre, we might be in the dread 
chamber of the chateau where Emily and Dorothee found 
the clothes of the marchioness lying just as she had thrown 
them off, 'and, on the dressing-table, a pair of gloves and a 
long black veil, which, as Emily took it up to examine, she 
1 perceived was dropping to pieces with age.' In the first 
part of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte gives a vivid and ap- 
parently realistic picture of a child's suffering. But in her 
portrayal of Rochester she seems to be returning, in some 



Contribution to the Novel 



degree, to Mrs. Radcliffe's conception of the 'villain-hero/ 
Still more is this true of Emily Bronte, in her amazing and 
terrific picture of Heathcliffe. 

Many people have considered that Mrs. Radcliffe's most 
valuable contribution to the novel was her use of natural 
scenery. Miss Reynolds has shown that eighteenth-century 
novelists in general had little interest in the surroundings of 
their heroes. Except in the novels of Charlotte Smith, 
there had been little use of landscape in fiction until, as Miss 
Reynolds says, 'In these novels by Mrs. RadclifTe the roman- 
tic landscape was presented in its complete form/ 1 

It is unnecessary to go into any discussion of the im- 
portance of scenery in the later novels. We may present it 
as our general conclusion that Mrs. Radcliffe modified to 
some degree both the structure and the theme of the novel. 
In structure she developed the principle of suspense, adapt- 
ing to fiction more completely than had been done before the 
technique of the drama. In the matter of theme her con- 
tribution was twofold, dealing both with the supernatural 
and with the natural that is, with natural scenery. ^ 
One must of course realize that in none of these 
fields did Mrs. Radcliffe take the very first step. Wai- 
pole, as I have said before, made some use of dramatic 
climax and suspense, although it was pretty feeble. Thomas 
Leland, in his Longsword, published in 1762, has the earl 
kept in ignorance of the fate of his household, but the 
interruption to his inquiries is not very reasonable : 

Now, when restored to a degree of tranquillity, he again 
offered at some inquiries on his part, of his house, his son and 
wife, but was instantly interrupted by Randolph, who reminded 
him of rest 1 

The supernatural or rather, the apparently supernatural, 
with a natural ending, quite in the style of Mrs. Radcliffe 
is found in Smollett's Ferdinand, Count Fathom, where 
Melvil, going to mourn in the church where he supposes his 

1 The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry, p. 2i<* 
1 Longsword i. 131. 



92 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

love to be buried, sees what he thinks to be her spectre, but 
discovers that it is the living woman. The treatment here is 
much more suggestive of Mrs. Radcliffe's method than the 
clumsy magic of Walpole's tale. Charlotte Smith had made 
some use of landscape, and others, as Miss Reynolds points 
out, had introduced little touches of description. Smollett 
has* one passage which Miss Reynolds does not mention, 
where Ferdinand 

Found himself benighted in the midst of a forest, far from 
the habitations of men. The darkness of the night, the silence 
and solitude of the place, the indistinct images of the trees that 
appeared on every side, 'stretching their extravagant arms 
athwart the gloom/ conspired with the dejection of spirits 
occasioned by his loss, to disturb his fancy, and raise strange 
phantoms in his imagination. 1 

This is quite in the tone of 'Gothic* description, especially 
when we realize that it leads up to a scene of robbery. 

But, after all, a first step is not necessarily a decisive step. 
These tentative beginnings might lead to nothing if Mrs. 
Radcliffe had not assembled the scattered hints, and shaped 
them into a distinctly characteristic method, into a type of 
novel strong enough to win popularity. Smollett's sug- 
gestion of -Gothicism/ Walpole's patchwork of ghosts and 1 
giants, even the attempt at historical romance in LongswordSX 
might have had little effect upon the development of the \ 
novel, if 'Gothic* themes had not been triumphantly estab- ^ 
lished in The Romance of the Forest and The Mysteries of 
Udolpho. 

Mrs. Radcliffe did, then, make a definite and important 
contribution to the novel. One question, however, remains. 
If she did make such a decided change in structure^such a 
considerable addition in theme, how does it happen that 
her contribution was not in itself more permanent? Why 
are her books relegated to the darkest and dustiest corner 
of the library shelves if, indeed, the modern library own* 
them at all ? 

1 Ferdinand, Count Fathom, p. 145. 



* Contribution to the Novel 93 

The answer lies in one undeniable weakness her failure] 
to individualize her characters. It has been saicTlhat WC~ 
are interested in the places which Scott describes because \ 
we always associate them with the people that he has 1 
created. Quite the opposite is true of Mrs. Radcliffe. We ' 
are interested in her people, for the most part, only because 
of the situation or the place in which they happen to find 
themselves. 

This lack of characterization leads, naturally, to a loss of J 
interest after one reading. At first, as Talfourd says, we 
put ourselves into the place of the hero or heroine, and 
follow the adventures with an almost personal interest. But 
when once the outcome is known, there is no incentive to 
rereading; there are no characters which fascinate us by 
their humanness, so that we wish to associate with them over 
and over again. 

Then, too, lack of character-drawing leads to lack of 
motivation. When the people have no individuality, there 
is no reason why they should do one thing more than 
another. Therefore situation is emphasized in and for it-, 
self ; there is usually no logical relation of action to char- 
acter. It is this condition that, in a play, gives melodrama ; 
and, indeed, Mrs. Radcliffe's novels have to those of George 
Eliot or of Scott at his best a relation not unlike that of 
melodrama to genuine tragedy or tragi-comedy. ~~" 

Different conditions confront us, however, when we meas- 
ure her by the novelists who were her immediate contem- 
poraries. Novels were being turned out in ever increasing 
numbers, but only a few of the writers received anything 
like the recognition which was accorded Mrs. Radcliffe. 
Those most prominently mentioned in the reviews of the 
time are Matthew Gregory Lewis, Mrs. Inchbald, and Char- 
lotte Smith. 

Lewis has already been spoken of. There is no doubt 
that he received much of his inspiration from Mrs. Rad- 
cliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho, although, as has been said be- 
fore, he may in turn have given her some suggestions for 



94 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

The Italian. In his psychological treatment of character 
he has probably surpassed her ; some real power of analysis 
is shown in the monk's struggle between religion and pas- 
sion.' But the crudity of his horrors make his book absurd ; 
it survives, so far as it survives at all, as a literary curiosity. 
Byron wrote of it : l 'These descriptions ought to have been 
written by Tiberius at Caprea they are forced the phil- 
ter -ed ideas of a jaded voluptuary. It is to me inconceivable 
how they could have been composed by a man of only 
twenty.' The cynicism of the book, and its open disregard 
of conventional morality, called forth reviews which were 
distinctly unfavorable. Although Lewis was for a time 
much talked of, he was a man of one book, and his influence 
was not equal to that of Mrs. Radcliffe. 

One of the reviews of' The Mysteries of Udolpho closes 
with these words : 'This is the best composition of this kind 
that has appeared since Mrs. Inchbald's Simple Story/ 2 
The expression, 'this kind/ is a little puzzling here. The 
reviewer must surely be thinking of fiction in general, for, 
except that they are both fiction, two compositions could 
hardly be more unlike than The Mysteries of Udolpho and 
A Simple Story. 

Mrs. Inchbald's book was very popular, and it is not hard 
to understand why it should have been so. Its chief recom- 
mendation is that it really is 'A Simple Story' ; the language 
is unaffected, and the situations and emotions are of the sort 
that have a general appeal. But in structure it is faulty; 
the break of seventeen years in the middle of the story is 
awkward, especially so because after the seventeen years 
we have to readjust completely our ideas of the principal 
characters. Moreover, the ethical purpose of the book is 
rather too obvious for successful art. Mrs. Radcliffe, it is 
true, was strictly moral ; her stories may all be said to be 
elaborations of the theme, 'those that were good shall be 
happy'; but her main interest does not lie there. Mrs. 

1 Journal, Dec. 6, 1813. 
* English Review 23. 464. 



Contribution to the Novel 95 

Inchbald is a follower of Rousseau, in that her book is to 
some extent an educational treatise in disguise. 

Mrs. Smith may more justly be considered a rival of Mrs. 
Radcliffe, for we find in her work two of Mrs. Radcliffe's 
most notable characteristics the so-called 'Gothic* element, 
and the interest in natural scenery. These characteristics 
are most prominent, however, in The Old Manor House, 
which was published in 1793, after A Sicilian Romance and 
The Romance of the Forest. So it is quite possible that 
Mrs. Smith deliberately imitated the methods which were 
bringing her sister-novelist success. 

She evidently had a genuine love of nature, and some of 
her English landscapes are very well done. Miss Mitford 
referred to her as a 'landscape poet.' 1 But when she at- 
tempted foreign scenes, the result was less satisfactory. I 
have spoken of Mrs. Radcliffe's habit of steadying her 
imagination by reference to books of travel, as for instance 
in her adaptation of Mrs. Piozzi's descriptions of Venice. 
If Mrs. Smith consulted any books of travel, either she was 
unfortunate in her source, or she made no geographical 
distinction between North and South America. Her de- 
scription of early spring in a Canadian wilderness is 
startling : 

On the opposite side of the river lay an extensive savannah, 
alive with cattle, and coloured with such a variety of swamp 
plants, that their colour, even at that distance, detracted some- 
thing from the vivid green of the new-sprung grass. . . . 
The acclivity on which the tents stood sinking very suddenly on 
the left, the high cliffs there gave place to a cypress swamp, 
. . . while on the right the rocks, rising suddenly and sharply, 
were clothed with wood of various species ; the evergreen oak, 
the scarlet oak, the tulip tree and magnolia, seemed bound to- 
gether by festoons of flowers, some resembling the convolvuluses 
of our gardens, and others the various sorts of clematis, with 
vignenias, and the Virginia creeper. . . . Beneath these 
, fragrant wreaths that wound about the trees, tufts of rhodo- 
dendrons, and azalea, of andromedas and calmias, grew in the 
most luxuriant beauty; and strawberries already ripening, or 

* Letters 2. 29. ' 
7 



g6 Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Time 

even ripe, peeped forth among the rich vegetation of grass and 
flowers. 1 

And this spring is supposed to follow 'only a few days after 
the severest weather, which had buried the whole country in 
snow/ 

But Mrs. Smith, though inferior to Mrs. Radcliffe in de- 
scription and plot, has surpassed her in one direction. She 
has created one triumphantly successful character.- Mrs. 
Rayland, in The Old Manor House, never announcing her 
intention of making young Orlando her heir, yet governing 
his destiny by her slightest nod, and maintaining his whole 
family in awe, is a masterpiece. If Charlotte Smith had 
developed more fully the power of character-drawing which 
she showed in this one figure, she would occupy a very dif- 
ferent place in the line of novelists from her present obscure 
niche. But she wrote, for the most part, hurriedly, and 
under pressure of financial need. Mrs. Carter, writing of 
one of the earlier books to Mrs. Montagu, says : 

I was glad to find that you were pleased with the 'Orphan of 
the Castle.' I heartily wish it was fashionable enough to be of 
any essential benefit to the author, who has been obliged to pur- 
chase her freedom from a vile husband, by giving up part of the 
little fortune she had left ; so that she lias at present little more 
than a hundred a year to support herself and six or seven 
children.* 

This personal note was rather common in the consider- 
ation of books by feminine authors. Several reviews, not 
very favorable in tone, of books by women, add as an ex- 
tenuating circumstance that the writer has a worthy object, 
the support of children, parents, or a husband, as the case 
may be. The difference in attitude in the reviews of Mrs. 
Radcliffe's work is very noticeable. There is never any 
mention of her personal circumstances ; the books are con- 
sidered wholly upon their merits, and, in the case of the 
earlier ones, the reviewer is evidently uncertain whether to 

1 The Old Manor House 3. 349. 
1 Letters, June 30, 1788. 



Contribution to the Novel 97 

attribute them to a man or a woman. That Mrs. Radcliffe 
stood apart from the general crowd of feminine writers who 
were taking possession of the field of fiction, is evident from 
a comment in The Pursuits of Literature, by T. Mathias, a 
production which is rather severe upon writers in general 
and novelists in particular : 

Mrs. Charlotte Smith, Mrs. Inchbald, Mrs. Mary Robinson, 
Mrs. etc. etc. though all of them are ingenious ladies, yet they 
are too frequently whining or frisking in novels, till our girls' 
heads turn wild with impossible adventures, and now and then 
are tainted with democracy. . . . Not so the mighty magician 
of The Mysteries of Udolpho, bred and nourished by the Floren- 
tine Muses in their sacred solitary caverns amid the paler 
shrines of Gothic superstition, and in all the dreariness of in- 
chantment: a poetess whom Ariosto would with rapture have 
acknowledged, as the 

La nudrita 
Damigella Trivulzia al sacro speco. (O. F. c. 46) * 

In summing up the impressions gained from this study, 
one is inclined to try to relate literature to life, and to con- 
clude that the chief defect in Mrs. Radcliffe's art was a 
natural result of her temperament. Her journals are filled 
with descriptions of scenery ; there are few comments upon 
people. She has left no evidence of any strong personal 
friendships outside of her own family. It is natural to con- 
clude that she was not keenly interested in the men and 
women around her, that she had not a quick eye for the 
little oddities of human character. The fairies gave her 
many gifts, but they held back the one which a novelist 
most needs. With the possible exception of Schedoni, she 
has not left us a single figure which deserves a place in the 
portrait-gallery of fiction. But the gifts were not wasted. 
They made her immensely popular at a time when the novel 
had, perhaps, advanced about as far as it could along one 
line and was ready for a change. They made it possible 
for her to influence men and women who possessed the one 
recious gift which she lacked, and, by her influence upon 
them, to affect the whole development of the novel. 

1 Pursuits of Literature, p. 20. 



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